The Dallas Cowboys lost their second game of the 2014 NFL season on Monday Night Football and might have lost more than that. One of their top defensive stars was knocked out for the season and quarterback Tony Romo re-injured his surgically repaired back. Here is a look at the Dallas Cowboys vs. Arizona Cardinals injury report for the week nine NFL game.

Dallas Cowboys

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The biggest news heading into the Week 9 game with the Arizona Cardinals revolves around the injury to quarterback Tony Romo. The Cowboys star quarterback was injured when a defensive player drove a knee into his back during a sack. Romo went to the locker room and returned to the field, remaining ineffective for the last two series of the game.

According to Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones, the availability of Romo for the Cardinals game will be based on his pain tolerance. However, Romo disagreed with that assessment and said that it has nothing to do with the pain, but has to do with whether or not he can be productive in the game. Romo said if it is just based on pain then he will play, but the team needs him to be productive out on the field. Head coach Jason Garrett said that he is optimistic that Romo will play, but the quarterback has not practiced yet and will be a game time decision.

If Romo is unable to go then Brandon Weeden will get the start. In relief of Romo on Monday night, Weeden completed four-of-six passes for 69 yards and a touchdown. It was a nice performance for the backup quarterback and Dallas might have had a better chance to win if he had finished the game instead of an injured Romo returning. Dallas needs someone who can put up yards through the air against the Arizona Cardinals, who are ranked third in the NFL in rushing defense.

The other big loss for Dallas was to linebacker Justin Durant. He went down in the Redskins game with a significant tear in his biceps. He considered avoiding surgery to return in December, but when told it wouldn’t heal up in time, chose to undergo the season ending surgery. Rookie Anthony Hitchens is likely to take his place at weak side for the rest of the season.

To add to the ills, a second offensive lineman has joined the injured list. The best offensive line in the NFL is now down two starters. Last week, Doug Free fell to a foot injury and Jeremy Parnell took his place. This week, it was left guard Ron Leary, who pulled his groin and will be replaced by Mackenzy Bernadeau. Luckily for the Cowboys, their three first round draft picks are still healthy.

Arizona Cardinals

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The Arizona Cardinals finished last season with the best record of any team who missed the playoffs, with double digit wins but the unfortunate placement in the NFC West. This season, they are off to a hot start and actually lead the NFC West, up on both the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks by two games. That was all despite losing their starting quarterback Carson Palmer for a few games.

Palmer is back and healthy and the entire Cardinals offense seems to be clicking. Running back Andre Ellington was limited in practice this week with a foot injury, but he has been banged up all season and hasn’t missed a game yet. He actually carried the ball 23 times in week eight, scoring a touchdown. Michael Floyd was having a career season until he was blanked last week, but it wasn’t due to a serious injury. He is having knee problems but has been practicing in full this week.

The Cardinals are winning because of their defense. However, this week they might be without their starting safety Tony Jefferson, who has a concussion. He will have to pass the protocols to get back on the field, but that would be a last minute decision on Sunday. On the good side, cornerback Patrick Peterson practiced in full this week after passing his concussion tests. Linebacker Kenny Demens (knee) also returned to practice in full this week.

Injury Report

Dallas Cowboys

  • Brandon Carr, CB (Hamstring) – Full Practice
  • Bruce Carter, OLB (Thigh/Finger) – Limited Practice
  • Jack Crawford, DE (Calf) – Full Practice
  • Doug Free, T (Foot) – Did Not Practice
  • Ronald Leary, G (Groin) – Did Not Practice
  • Rolando McClain, MLB (Shoulder) – Limited Practice
  • Jermey Parnell, T (Chest) – Full Practice
  • Tony Romo, QB (Back) – Did Not Practice
  • Anthony Spencer, DE (Knee/Foot) – Limited Practice

Arizona Cardinals

  • Stepfan Taylor, RB (Calf) – Out
  • Tony Jefferson, S (Concussion) – Did Not Practice
  • Kenny Demens, LB (Knee) – Limited Practice
  • Andre Ellington, RB (Foot) – Limited Practice
  • Troy Niklas, TE (Ankle) – Limited Practice
  • Patrick Peterson, CB (Concussion) – Limited Practice
  • Calais Campbell, DE (Knee) – Full Practice
  • Michael Floyd, WR (Knee) – Full Practice
  • Rashad Johnson, S (Knee) – Full Practice

For more Cowboys news and updates, visit Cowboys Central.

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Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos. Examiner.com