Dallas Cowboys: Injuries

A look at Cowboys' season-ending injuries

December, 28, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- When quarterback Tony Romo underwent season-ending back surgery Friday morning, he became the ninth Cowboys player lost for the season due to injury.

You could say it's 10 players lost if you want to throw in defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff, who said he hadn't recovered from a groin injury which prompted the Cowboys to release him. He subsequently signed with the Bears.

Of the other nine, Romo's departure is the biggest. A review of the injured:

Ben Bass: The defensive end was a projected backup to a unit beset by injuries. His shoulder is nearly healed and he should be ready in time for the 2014 season.

Ryan Cook: He was a longshot to make the roster, and when his back didn't heal enough for him to make the roster it was time to move on. It's doubtful that the veteran offensive lineman returns.

Tyrone Crawford: A torn Achilles in the first week of training camp ended the defensive end's season quickly and put the Cowboys in a bind at defensive line. Crawford is now doing on-the-field rehab work, so he should be good for offseason workouts.

Lance Dunbar: Injuries hampered his season. He was just starting to make an impact when he injured his knee in the fourth quarter of the Thanksgiving Day win over Oakland. The Cowboys like the running back's change-of-pace ability, and he should be given a chance to regain that role in 2014.

Justin Durant: The veteran just couldn't recover in enough time from a hamstring injury to help the linebacker corps. Durant was signed to play the strong side and he had good moments, but his health got in the way of making more of an impact.

Matt Johnson: Johnson hasn't played a down in his first two seasons. A hamstring issue his rookie season and an ankle injury late in training camp put him on the shelf. The Cowboys have to make a decision on whether it's worth keeping the safety around.

Tony Romo: The starting quarterback was knocked around at times this season but he showed an amazing level of toughness to finish the game at Washington last week while his back was throbbing. Romo is projected to return in time for the OTAs.

Anthony Spencer: Spencer's knee bothered him during training camp and the projected starter at defensive end underwent microfracture surgery after playing in just one game. He becomes a free agent after the season, so it will be interesting if the Cowboys offer him a deal.

Brian Waters: The veteran guard was a solid contributor in the five games he started before a torn triceps ended his season. Waters is unsure about whether he wants to play again. He turns 37 on Feb. 18, and the Cowboys might pass on giving him another contract.

Sean Lee not giving up

December, 27, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- Cowboys starting middle linebacker Sean Lee will miss the regular-season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night with a sprained neck. If the Cowboys win this game, they will clinch the NFC East and either a No. 3 or No. 4 seed in the playoffs.

Lee hopes to play in the postseason.

"That’s the plan," Lee said. "We’re going to check week in and week out and see what the doctors [say] and once they feel the stability in my neck is fine and is ready to go, they’ll let me back on the field. I have seen improvement. But like I said, they have to see a lot of improvement each week to put me back out there."

Lee, who hasn't played since Dec. 9 at Chicago, gets the strength in his neck tested every week to get cleared.

With so much on the line Sunday night, Lee expressed disappointment he can't play. It's the second consecutive season Lee has missed the final game of the regular season due to injury. Lee missed the Week 17 game at Washington last season with a season-ending toe injury and now he's out with a neck issue.

"I’m very disappointed obviously," Lee said. "It’s two years in a row I haven’t been there when the team needed me most. There are some things you can control and some things you can’t. You have to play the cards you’re dealt and try to stay positive. I’m excited with the guys we have going this week. They’ve done a great job preparing and I think they’ll be effective."

DeVonte Holloman replaces Lee as the middle linebacker and Bruce Carter, the weakside linebacker is the signal-caller.

"He’s a guy who can make a lot of plays," Lee said of Holloman, a rookie. "Good athlete. Great instincts. He’s a guy who with the more experience he gets, the better he will play. And I’m excited to watch him this week."

DeMarcus Ware misses practice

December, 27, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware missed Friday's practice. Ware was listed on the injury report with a sore back but he was a full participant during Thursday's session.

Also, wide receiver Dez Bryant (back) did practice on Friday after missing Thursday's session with a sore back.

Linebackers Sean Lee (neck) and Ernie Sims (groin) and quarterback Tony Romo (back surgery) missed practice as expected.

With the Cowboys placing Romo on injured reserve on Friday it opened a roster spot.

Coach Jason Garrett said the team hadn't made a decision as yet on how to fill it.

Dez Bryant misses practice, expects to play

December, 26, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant missed Thursday's practice with a sore back.

Yet, Bryant said he will play in Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

"No doubt," Bryant said when asked if he's playing.

Bryant said he injured his back in the Week 16 victory against the Washington Redskins but played through it. During the early portions of Wednesday's practice, Bryant reaggravated his injury and the offensive coaches shut him down the rest of the day.

Team officials don't view Bryant's back issue as anything serious, but in the past two seasons he's endured problems. After the season, Bryant said he will let a specialist give him further examinations on his back.

"Yeah. I’m going to get into all of that when it’s time for me to get into all of that," he said.

Linebacker Sean Lee (neck), quarterback Tony Romo (back) and linebacker Ernie Sims (groin) didn't practice Thursday.

Cornerback Morris Claiborne (hamstring), wide receiver Dwayne Harris (hamstring), defensive tackle Jason Hatcher (neck), linebacker DeVonte Holloman (hip), defensive end George Selvie (back), defensive end DeMarcus Ware (back) and defensive end Jarius Wynn (chest) did practice.

Injury report: Sean Lee is close to returning

December, 22, 2013
LANDOVER, Md. -- The Dallas Cowboys enter the final game of the regular season with the possibility of starting middle linebacker Sean Lee returning to the field after missing last week's game against Green Bay with a sprained neck.

Lee has missed a total of four games because of injuries this season, but with the Philadelphia Eagles game meaning so much, this could be his last chance to participate.

"I visited with him before the game," Jerry Jones said. "I just visited with him again here, and it’s certainly possible. It’s a technical thing. It's something that he very easily could get cleared, and he’s ready to play if he’s cleared."

Lee has to pass certain physical tests before getting doctors to allow him to return.

Also, wide receiver Dwayne Harris (hamstring) and cornerback Morris Claiborne (hamstring) are expected to return for the regular-season finale against the Eagles.

Linebacker Ernie Sims (groin) is questionable for the Eagles, game but he's hoping to return.

Brandon Carr listed as probable

December, 20, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- Despite missing the past two days of practice because of illness, Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr said he expects to play in Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins.

"I'm not going to miss a game with this," said Carr, who was listed as probable on the Cowboys' injury report released Friday.

Coach Jason Garrett said no other player was sick like Carr and that several non-football personnel were asked to go home with the flu. It should be noted starting running back DeMarco Murray had the sniffles while talking to reporters on Thursday.

In some good news for the linebacker position that's been hit by injuries, Bruce Carter (hamstring) was listed as probable and should start against the Washington Redskins.

Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher (stinger) and defensive ends George Selvie (back) and DeMarcus Ware are listed as probable. Ware and Hatcher were full participants in Friday's practice while Selvie was limited.

Cornerback Morris Claiborne (hamstring) and linebacker Ernie Sims (groin) are listed as doubtful. Claiborne ruled himself out for the Washington game earlier this week while Sims, who hasn't practiced all week, said he did some running on Friday. Sims said he will make the trip to Washington and hopes to warmup in pregame to test his groin area.

Wide receiver Terrance Williams (hamstring) and defensive end Jarius Wynn (chest) were limited in practice and are questionable for the game.

As expected, linebacker Sean Lee (neck) and wide receiver Dwayne Harris (hamstring) have been ruled out. Harris did some more running on Friday and said he expects to play in the regular-season finale against Philadelphia. Lee said his neck is feeling much better.

Brandon Carr misses practice

December, 19, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr missed Thursday's practice with an undisclosed illness.

The Cowboys are already down a corner because Morris Claiborne is out with a hamstring injury.

Defensive end DeMarcus Ware (back) returned to practice Thursday after missing Wednesday's session. Coach Jason Garrett said Ware's back problem wasn't considered serious.

Fellow starting defensive end George Selvie returned to practice too, after missing practice with a tight back.

Dwayne Harris (hamstring), Ernie Sims (groin) and Terrance Williams (hamstring) missed practice.

Practice report: Dallas missing 3 players

December, 11, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys missed three players, Dwayne Harris, Bruce Carter and Morris Claiborne, due to hamstring injuries on Wednesday.

Harris said he won't play against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday and hopes to start running on Friday.

Sean Lee (stinger) was limited in practice but said of his work it, "felt good, real good."

Jason Hatcher and DeVonte Holloman each were full participants in practice with their neck injuries.

For the first time in weeks, defensive end DeMarcus Ware wasn't listed on the injury report. Ware has been dealing with a thigh injury.

Sean Lee gets practice work in

December, 11, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- Starting middle linebacker Sean Lee was participating in Wednesday's practice at Valley Ranch on Wednesday afternoon.


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Lee left Monday's game against the Chicago Bears with a strained neck and is listed as day-to-day. Lee, who missed the previous two games with a pulled left hamstring, said his leg is fine.

Wide receiver Dwayne Harris, linebacker Bruce Carter and cornerback Morris Claiborne missed practice with hamstring injuries. All three were doing rehab work while practice was being conducted.

Claiborne has returned to the team following the death of his father, Robert Owens, last week. Claiborne's rehab from a previous hamstring injury was slowed because he was handling family business.

The Cowboys got the return of defensive end Edgar Jones to practice. Jones was activated off the reserve/injured designated list on Wednesday. He was placed on the list on Oct. 18 with a groin injury. Jones hasn't played since Sept. 29 at San Diego and his status for the Green Bay game on Sunday afternoon is uncertain.

Cowboys practice report: Austin returns

November, 13, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- The Cowboys' lone practice of the week saw the return of several players and some possible position changes.

Returning from injuries: Wide receiver Miles Austin (hamstring), defensive tackle Jason Hatcher (neck) and linebacker DeVonte Holloman (neck) participated.

Missing practice: Cornerback Orlando Scandrick (personal), cornerback Morris Claiborne (hamstring), safety J.J. Wilcox (knee), linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring), linebacker Justin Durant (hamstring) and defensive end DeMarcus Ware (thigh).

Nicked up but practicing: Wide receiver Dez Bryant (back), wide receiver Dwayne Harris (hip) and safety Danny McCray (hip and toe).

Position changes: With injuries at linebacker, Ernie Sims was seen getting reps at middle linebacker with Bruce Carter and Holloman getting time as outside linebackers. Also, defensive end Kyle Wilber was practicing at linebacker. He was drafted as a outside linebacker last year, but moved to defensive end when the Cowboys switched to a 4-3 alignment this season.

Injuries: Sean Lee has a pulled hamstring

November, 12, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee wouldn't confirm he's out three-to-four weeks, and the injury to his left hamstring isn't a tear, but a pull. Lee said he's had them before but hopes rehab will fix the problem and he can return sooner than expected.

"I've got to make sure I rehab properly and hope I can be back as soon as I can, when I can functionally get back," Lee said after Tuesday afternoon meetings. "It's frustrating. I want to be on the field. Obviously, I've had trouble staying on the field. I take a lot of pride in rehabbing and making sure I recover and am ready to go. But it's just one of those deals I've got to battle back from."
  • Defensive end DeMarcus Ware (thigh) said he tweaked his injury during the Saints game but didn't believe it was serious. The Cowboys have one scheduled practice during the bye week, which is Wednesday morning, and Ware isn't expected to participate. Ware said he will rehab this week to get his leg stronger.
  • Safety J.J. Wilcox is still rehabbing from his sprained knee. Wilcox said he'll do more rehab work during the bye and has hopes of returning for next week's game at the New York Giants. Wilcox has missed the last three games.
  • Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher missed the Saints game with a stinger and plans to start lifting weights this week. Hatcher said he believes he'll play against the Giants.
  • Wide receiver Miles Austin (hamstring) has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury. Austin is running and doing some cardio work in rehab but his return is also uncertain. The Cowboys are hoping the time off -- Austin hasn't played since Oct. 20 at Philadelphia -- will allow him to get healthy enough to return to game action.
  • Cornerback Morris Claiborne (hamstring) has missed the last two games but with rehab he'll be ready for the Giants.
  • Linebacker Justin Durant (hamstring) suffered a hamstring injury against the Saints, and like Lee, is out three-to-four weeks.
  • Wide receiver Dez Bryant (back) hasn't missed any games due to back soreness but was limited in some practices last week because of it. Coach Jason Garrett said Bryant, who caught one pass against the Saints, is fine physically.
  • Linebacker DeVonte Holloman (neck) has missed the last four games but could return to practice next week.

Miles Austin, DeMarcus Ware are doubtful

November, 1, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin and defensive end DeMarcus Ware are listed as doubtful for Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Austin, who didn't practice due to a hamstring injury, has missed a total of three games because of his health.

"In all fairness, I think we’re really wanting to make sure we get him 100 percent back and he’s not out there playing at 85-90 percent," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said of Austin. "But give him the chance to get all the way back rather than push him out."

Ware, who also didn't practice, said he will try to warm up prior to the Vikings game to test his injured thigh. Ware has missed the past two weeks because of the injury and noted the swelling has subsided in his leg which now allows him to at least try to warm up.

The Cowboys will miss two defensive starters in cornerback Morris Claiborne (hamstring) and J.J. Wilcox (knee) due to injuries. Guard Brian Waters (triceps) and linebacker DeVonte Holloman (neck) have been ruled out.

Waters most likely will get placed on injured reserve, maybe as soon as today, according to Jones. Waters has gotten several opinions from doctors regarding his torn triceps, which is near the elbow. If Waters can't extend his arms, he becomes a liability on the field.

"He’s a pro. He didn’t come back to get the proverbial check," Jones said after Friday's practice. "I think he really came back to compete and make a difference and he’s made a difference for us. Even if we don’t have him again, I think he’s made a huge difference in our room and made the guys around him better. Obviously glad we signed him. Very unfortunate what’s happened to him. But obviously we’re looking and seeing and making sure he wants to, if there’s any way he could play through this. But obviously not totally optimistic there."

Safety Danny McCray (toe and hip) practiced for the first time on Friday, though it was on a limited basis. He's listed as questionable on the injury report.

"I just don't like missing games," said McCray, who expects to play Sunday. "I've missed my game for this year. Anything I can do to stay on the field is a positive."

Marvin Austin (back), Barry Church (hamstring), Lance Dunbar (hamstring), Dwayne Harris (hip), Jason Hatcher (neck), DeMarco Murray (knee) and George Selvie (shoulder) practiced in some fashion on Friday and are listed as probable.

Jones: DeMarco Murray could have played

October, 27, 2013
DETROIT -- There was a thought starting running back DeMarco Murray would play for the Dallas Cowboys in Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions. But Murray missed his second consecutive game with a sprained left knee.

Murray's absence might have surprised Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones.

"I think DeMarco Murray could have gone," Jones said after the Cowboys' 31-30 loss to the Lions. "I don’t know what risk we would have taken with him, but he could have gone."

Murray was limited in practice this week and said if he was practicing he expected to play.

The Cowboys might have been being cautious with Murray by sitting him out another week. His replacement, rookie Joseph Randle rushed for 26 yards on 14 carries. Lance Dunbar also rushed for 16 yards on five carries.

Starting defensive end DeMarcus Ware and wide receiver Miles Austin also missed the game with injuries. Ware has a thigh injury and he could return for next week's game against Minnesota.

Austin's return from a hamstring injury is uncertain. The Cowboys have discussed shutting him down until he gets 100 percent.

Injuries have become an interesting topic around the Cowboys after the team released defensive tackle Jay Ratliff.

Ratliff's agent, Mark Slough, disputed the severity of his injuries. Team officials said Ratliff underwent a sports hernia surgery last year, but it was later revealed it was a much more severe injury.

Slough said Ratliff tore muscle off his pelvic bone and that it would take a year to recover.

Injury update: Waters with three injuries

October, 27, 2013
DETROIT -- Dallas Cowboys starting right guard Brian Waters suffered three injuries in the loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon.

Waters played only one series in the second half because he suffered injuries to his knee, ribs and triceps.

"Just trying to make it out of Detroit alive, man," Waters said.

The Cowboys also lost cornerback Morris Claiborne and safety Barry Church to hamstring injuries. At the end of the game, the Cowboys' defense had rookies Jakar Hamilton and Jeff Heath playing safety due to the injuries to Church.

Starting running back DeMarco Murray (sprained knee) and starting defensive end DeMarcus Ware (thigh) missed the game due to injuries. Ware's absence wasn't a surprise, but there was a thought Murray would play after practicing some last week.

Murray said if he was practicing he expected to play, but that wasn't the case.

"I know the guys that were in there for (Church and Claiborne) really played well," Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said. "I think DeMarco Murray could have gone. I don’t know what risk we would have taken with him, but he could have gone."

Jerry Jones says Jay Ratliff is a legal issue

October, 24, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys' owner/general manager, said he couldn't get into specifics but said the Cowboys' problems with defensive tackle Jay Ratliff remain a legal issue.

Ratliff was released last week by the team for health reasons. A portion of Ratliff's $715,000 base salary was guaranteed in case of injury. The Cowboys can't get any of Ratliff's signing bonus money because he didn't violate any clauses of his contract.

"Again, that’s a legal matter," Jones said after Thursday's practice. "But all agreements require people to abide by the agreements. That’s why you have legal issues. We obviously have an agreement with him, had an agreement with him, and to the extent that you have some concern within that, that’s why you have legal."

Ratliff had a sports hernia surgery in December and was expected back sooner than what the team expected. There was communication problems between Ratliff and the Cowboys' team doctors in terms of treatment and the type of surgery.

Ratliff had surgery to repair tendons torn off his pelvic bone, which is slightly different than a sports hernia surgery.

"I had said earlier that I thought I was going to focus on good things," Jones said. "The contribution that he made here, we all need him real bad, this team needs him real bad, needed him real bad, was disappointed that he wasn’t playing, disappointing that the resources that are involved here aren’t going to a guy out here making plays."