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Kiffin: Say What You Want, Ware’s Been Banged Up
IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys top defensive ends and their sack-leading defensive tackle have all found themselves back on the injury report.
DeMarcus Ware said last week that poor health is no longer an issue for him after fighting through a thigh injury during the middle of the year, but the latest injury report shows that Ware, Jason Hatcher, George Selvie and many of the defenders are still fighting through injuries.
“D-Ware, you may say whatever you want, the guy’s been banged up,” said defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. “He’s trying to play hurt, and you’ve got to admire the guy for that, but he wants to play better and we want him to play better.”
Everyone knew about Ware’s leg injury, which had sidelined him for three games during the middle of the season, but it’s Ware’s back that put him on the injury report this time around. Hatcher’s back on the injury report with a neck injury after getting a stinger earlier in the year.
Hatcher was a limited practice participant Wednesday, while Ware and Selvie both missed practice entirely. Selvie left Sunday’s game after injuring his back. Kiffin said he thought the quad/thigh problem was still the biggest issue for Ware.
“You don’t need two or three injuries, you just need one to slow you down,” Kiffin said.
But it the injury report is right, it does appear there’s multiple injuries for Ware once again, one season after dealing with shoulder, elbow, neck and hamstring injuries. His shoulder injury last year required surgery.
Ware’s played through whatever pain he’s experiencing since the Saints game, but he has just two sacks in his last eight games. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said he still can’t take Ware lightly, though.
“He’s a very talented player,” Shanahan said. “One time, if you’re not 100 percent occupied, your left tackle or your right tackle or whoever it may be who he’s lined up on, he has the ability to beat anybody on any given play. You’ve got to be at your best.”
The defensive line is just a part of the injury situation. The situation’s just as grueling at linebacker, where the Cowboys were playing with backups to backups last week. Now, Justin Durant’s on injured reserve and Sean Lee and Ernie Sims are both in danger of missing this weekend’s game.
Shanahan said despite the injuries the Cowboys faced, the Dallas defense dominated the first half against the Packers last week. That defense, however, had both Durant and Sims, with Durant playing middle linebacker.
That won’t be the case this week, as DeVonte Holloman, who’s dealt with a neck injury this season, is planning to suit up as the starting middle linebacker this week. As the rookie learns the new position, he’ll need all the help he can get from the veterans on defense, including Hatcher and Ware.
“It’s been tough injury-wise, but we’ve got to go with what we’ve got,” Hatcher said.