By Shawn Lealos
The Dallas Cowboys opened the season with Tony Romo out with an injury and Darren McFadden on the injured reserve. Two rookies took their places and stole their jobs. However, that was just the beginning, and the Cowboys had many injuries throughout the season that they somehow overcame to finish the season with a 13-3 record. Now, they are preparing to play the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs and had all active players practice for the first time this season. Here is a look at the Dallas Cowboys injury report heading into the divisional playoffs.
Morris Claiborne Back Full At Practice
After struggling early on in his professional career, it looked like Morris Claiborne was finally figuring it out and proving that he belonged with the Cowboys. He was having the best season of his NFL career in 2016 until he injured his groin halfway through the season. This is the final year of his contract and he needs to prove he deserves to remain in Dallas—and the playoffs will be the platform for him to do so. However, Claiborne is returning to a team that suddenly has depth at his position.
Brandon Carr is playing great this season, Orlando Scandrick seems recovered from his season-long injury woes and rookie Anthony Brown has proven he belongs in the NFL. Claiborne will get a lot of playing time against the Packers, but Dallas doesn’t have to worry about pushing him too hard.
Defensive Line Healthy
The Dallas Cowboys got some bad news this past week when the NFL suspended defensive end Randy Gregory for a full year after missing a drug test while suspended for failing a previous drug test. As a result, they won’t have him for the playoffs. The good news is that they have a number of pass rushers returning from injuries that can fill in. Tyrone Crawford, Terrell McClain, DeMarcus Lawrence and Cedric Thornton all returned to practice this week.
Lawrence led the Cowboys in sacks in 2015 with eight and Crawford had 4.5 this season before his injury. To make things better, the Cowboys have come alive when it comes to rushing the quarterback thanks to the surging David Irving (4) and rookie Maliek Collins (5). With the healthy defensive linemen returning, this could be a long day for Aaron Rodgers.
Green Bay Loses Top Offensive Weapon
Aaron Rodgers will already have his work cut out for him, because the Green Bay Packers announced this week that they have ruled out starting wide receiver Jordy Nelson for this playoff game. Rodgers has said that he is comfortable with the Packers’ other receivers, but Nelson is a big loss. In the first 10 games of the season, Green Bay went 4-6. During that time, Jordy Nelson caught 53 passes for 663 yards. In the last six wins of the season, he caught 44 passes for 594 yards.
Nelson exploded when the Packers needed to win and helped push them into the playoffs. Rodgers will have to rely on Davante Adams and Randall Cobb to fill in the gap, and that will give Dallas the advantage in this game.
Dallas Cowboys Injury Report
- (CB) Morris Claiborne (Groin) — Full Participation in Practice
- (DE) Tyrone Crawford (Shoulder) — Limited Participation in Practice
- (LB) Justin Durant (Elbow) — Limited Participation in Practice
- (DE) Demarcus Lawrence (Back) — Limited Participation in Practice
- (DT) Terrell McClain (Ankle) — Limited Participation in Practice
- (T) Tyron Smith (Knee) — Limited Participation in Practice
- (DT) Cedric Thornton (Ankle) — Limited Participation in Practice