Sunday, January 1, 2012
All hands on deck for Giants, Cowboys
By Dan Graziano
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- If you're wondering whether your favorite injured New York Giants or Dallas Cowboys player will be active for Sunday night's NFC East title game, the answer is yes.
Giants wide receivers Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham and defensive end Osi Umenyiora all will dress for and play in tonight's game. Umenyiora missed the past four games with an ankle injury. Manningham missed last week's game and several others during the second half with a knee injury. And Nicks missed some practices last week with a hamstring injury. But as they said they would be, all are healthy enough to play in a game that decides the division champion.
Likewise, Dallas quarterback Tony Romo, who bruised his throwing hand last weekend in a loss to Philadelphia, will start the game. Nose tackle Jay Ratliff and linebackers DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee also are active in spite of injuries that limited them during the week.
The Giants will still be without tight end Jake Ballard, who has a knee injury. And wide receiver Ramses Barden is a surprise inactive. He is not injured, so it appears Barden is being held out because he hasn't been playing well lately. Bear Pascoe will start at tight end in place of Ballard, with Henry Hynoski starting at fullback in place of Pascoe. The Giants also announced that Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul will be the starting defensive ends, which means Umenyiora technically will come off the bench.
For the Cowboys, the only surprise inactive is cornerback Frank Walker, who's healthy but also hasn't played well lately. With Walker and injured safety/special teamer Danny McCray inactive, the Cowboys are very thin in the secondary against a Giants passing offense that had its way with them three weeks ago in Dallas. Dallas is also without punter Mat McBriar, who was placed on injured reserve Saturday with a foot injury.