DETROIT – The Cowboys limped into Sunday’s game with the Lions with a rash of injuries, including four starters missing the game. They limped off from Ford Field with even more, placing further doubt this team will ever be healthy enough to make a playoff run this season.
Injuries were already piling up and Sunday’s 31-30 loss to the Lions not only providing a heartbreaking finish but more injury setbacks along the way.
By the end of the game, the Cowboys were without cornerback Morris Claiborne, guard Brian Waters and safety Barry Church, who suffered a hamstring injury but said in the locker room after the game he plans on coming back next week.
The Cowboys can only hope Waters can say the same, but it won’t be easy. The veteran guard is suffering from three injuries, including a triceps injury that ultimately forced him out of the game early in the second half. And that was after Waters returned to action after sustaining what appeared to be a hyper-extended knee. Waters also is dealing with a ribs injury.
Mackenzy Bernadeau finished the game at right guard and also handled most of the line calls, along with center Travis Frederick.
As for Claiborne, the second-year cornerback sat out most of the second half with a hamstring injury. That forced rookie B.W. Webb onto the field in nickel situations, playing the slot.
But the Cowboys were also down five players to injury even before the game.
DeMarcus Ware has now missed his second game of his career with a quad strain he sustained in the Redskins game on Oct. 13. Ware appears to be getting closer to a return, spending all last week on the field with training staff and the rehab cords, a good indicator of a return in the near future.
They also played their second game without running back DeMarco Murray, who has a sprained knee. Murray also suffered the injury against Washington. The Cowboys have struggled to run the ball consistently with rookie Joseph Randle starting. He split some carries with Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar.
The Cowboys were without Miles Austin (hamstring) for the third time in five weeks. Austin has yet to catch a pass since Sept. 21 game against St. Louis.
Safety J.J. Wilcox (knee) went down in practice this week and the Cowboys gave fellow rookie Jeff Heath his first career start. Heath had a forced fumble and nine tackles. The Cowboys were also without linebacker DeVonte Holloman for the third straight game because of a neck injury.