The Dallas Cowboys are among NFL teams suffering the most in terms of injuries. Here’s an injury update surrounding three of the team’s key players heading into Week 7.
DeMarco Murray, RB (knee): On Tuesday, we talked about the variability in MCL injuries (which is what Murray suffered in Week 6), but noted that Murray was unlikely to play this weekend against the Eagles. That still appears to be the case. Murray has not practiced this week and it seems the team is inclined to give him a week of rest. Murray may not be done pleading his case for playing, but at this point it seems likely the team will err on the side of caution, perhaps mindful of his injury history. With Lance Dunbar also out with a hamstring injury, Joseph Randle is expected to start at RB for the Cowboys.
Miles Austin, WR (hamstring): After returning to the field last Sunday in unspectacular fashion, perhaps the best thing one could say about Austin is that he did not suffer any setbacks. Or did he? Austin practiced Wednesday but was not present at practice on Thursday. According to ESPN.com’s Todd Archer, the move was more of a proactive measure than a response to a setback. Per Archer, Austin rested Thursday to help ensure his readiness for Sunday. The Cowboys have tried everything to help prevent his hamstrings from acting up; mixing up the practice schedule is another part of that equation.
Austin is expected to play this weekend, but we have yet to see the explosive, unrestrained version of him this season. It’s hard to imagine that it isn’t a concern for him at some level, as well, wondering whether his legs will hold up if and when he does play. There’s no getting around the fact this will be an ongoing challenge for Austin -- as well as for the Cowboys’ medical and coaching staffs -- throughout the season.
DeMarcus Ware, DE (quadriceps): Perhaps the biggest injury blow for the Cowboys in Week 7 -- at least in terms of what his presence means to the team -- would be the potential sidelining of DeMarcus Ware. He suffered a strained right quadriceps in last Sunday’s game and has not practiced so far this week. While Ware has not ruled himself out of anything yet (why would he when he has never missed a game in his professional career?), his body may not cooperate.
Ware is smart enough to know whether he can be effective and whether the injury will compromise him too much to play on Sunday. After all, he came out of last week’s game when he realized he couldn’t power off his leg the way he should have been able to. And with a soft tissue injury, there’s always the risk of a setback if he pushes too hard too soon. Given the injuries he’s managed to play through during his career, Ware remains hopeful. However, the reality is that this may be the one that forces him to sit out a game for the first time.