Is DeMarcus Ware starting to break down?


IRVING, Texas -- DeMarcus Ware looks like he's in fantastic shape.

Without knowing the number, I'd bet Ware's body fat is next to zero.

But Ware isn't healthy. The Cowboys' starting defensive end has a neck problem, a result of stingers. He could miss Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles with a thigh injury, and he's needed an IV to get through some games because of dehydration.

Is Ware starting to break down?

"It's the nature of the game," coach Jason Garrett said. "It's a physical sport. He's a guy who gets a lot of attention. He plays in the trenches each and every play. A lot of these guys have a lot of things that they're dealing with. What says the most about DeMarcus Ware is he's out there practicing every week and he's out there playing every Sunday. So that's what he's all about. It's part of the game. You have to deal with that stuff."

On Friday morning, Jerry Jones said Ware was Superman. Jones told KRLD-FM that if this were a late-season game that carried importance, Ware would play.

Sunday's is a division game in October with first place up for grabs in the NFC East. The Cowboys can't afford to let anybody miss it, but if Ware isn't ready, he should sit out.

We've seen Ware come back from injuries so many times. He hasn't missed a single NFL game. His toughness shouldn't be questioned, nor his talent. But his body could be trying to tell him something.

The player is always the last to know.

"These are medical decisions first and foremost," Garrett said. "We have to do a great job as an organization making sure we do the right thing with any of our players. And DeMarcus is a guy that we'll evaluate over the course of this week and try to do the right thing.

"You have to factor in their willingness and desire to play. That's a really, really good thing. But at the same time, we've got to make sure we do the right things for now and going forward."

The Cowboys hope Ware isn't starting to break down. But it's a fair question to ask. So is asking how much Ware is risking injuring his leg even more if he plays Sunday.

"I think you have to think about both of them," Ware said, "and do you want to get out there and play one game, play it out and maybe not hurt yourself worse or working through some things and say, 'I have had enough rehab this week, and my leg is strong enough to get out there and go.'"