By Shawn S. Lealos
The Dallas Cowboys have three games left to finish the season and their playoff hopes are as good as finished. That left some questions for Dallas this week as they head into a tough game against the resurgent New York Jets. Should Dallas rest their injured stars and just finish out the season, or should they keep fighting and hope for a miracle? Garrett and his players made certain to let everyone know that they are playing to win and won’t throw the rest of the season for a better draft pick. Here is a look at the Cowboys injury report this week.
The biggest questions surround wide receiver Dez Bryant and quarterback Tony Romo. Romo is already declared out and couldn’t return until at least in the playoffs if the Cowboys made it that far. However, with those hopes almost dead, it might be time to move Romo to the injured reserve. For now, he remains active, but listed as out for this weekend’s game. Matt Cassel will start another game for Dallas, but some fans are wondering if it is time to see what Kellen Moore can do.
“More than likely, your game will dictate how they play, and if there is any playing time there for Kellen,” owner Jerry Jones said.
As for Dez Bryant, he is listed as probable and Jones said that the team would not consider shutting the receiver down to allow his foot more time to completely heal. Jones said the foot is fine and that Bryant just needs more time and practice to get back to full speed. That means that, despite their playoff hopes being dashed, Bryant will continue to risk further injury for Dallas as the season ends.
In what has to be disappointing news after hte team released cornerback Tyler Patmon this week, starting cornerback Morris Claiborne is listed as doubtful to play because of a hamstring injury. With Dallas playing on Saturday night, don’t expect to see Claiborne on the field. With no one else handy, expect rookie Byron Jones to get his first start of the season at corner with Jeff Heath getting more playing time in nickle situations.
Another huge loss this week is middle linebacker Rolando McClain, who is out this week with a concussion. McClain and Sean Lee have really dominated in the linebacker corps this season; but with McClain out, it looks like Anthony Hitchens will start in his place. That is good news because Hitchens got a lot of playing time as a rookie last season at all three linebacker positions and should be fine in the starting role, although the Cowboys will miss McClain’s tenacity.
Dez Bryant, WR (foot)
Jeff Heath, SS (shoulder)
David Irving, DT (back)
Demarcus Lawrenfce, DE (chest)
Morris Claiborne, CB (hamstring)
Tony Romo, QB (shgoulder)
Rolando McClain, MLB (concussion)
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.