IRVING, Texas - The hit Morris Claiborne took in the second half of the Bengals game last Sunday left him with more than just a fat lip. Claiborne was treated for a concussion and, as of now, he has yet to complete all the necessary steps to be cleared to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan talked about the condition of Claiborne on Friday after practice.
"He's hanging in there," Ryan said. "He got a little dizzy (Thursday). So I'm not sure about his availability for this game. I know he's doing everything he can. He's got to pass these (concussion) tests."
Claiborne felt confident on Friday that he would be cleared to play and went as far as to say that he is preparing as if he will suit up against the Steelers.
"Right now I'm feeling pretty good," Claiborne said. "It's a day-by-day process."
However, he did confirm that that he still had one remaining test to pass before being cleared, but said that he was unsure whether he would participate in the test on Friday or Saturday.
"Yeah, I have the impact test to do," Claiborne said. "Hopefully when I do that I ace it."
Although the Cowboys defense has already been decimated by injuries and losing Claiborne would likely be a huge blow to the secondary, Ryan voiced his support for the procedures that the NFL has in place in terms of addressing concussions.
"That's the one thing about it," Ryan said. "You have to follow protocol and no one can rush it no matter who you are. I think it's great for the players' safety. You have to make sure when they do come back they are ready with no trouble coming back. When Mo comes back he'll be ready to go, but until then we'll just move forward."
The loss of Claiborne would likely mean contributions from newly signed cornerback Michael Coe. Coe started the season as a member of the New York Giants and played in seven games before being cut. He then joined the Miami Dolphins. The Cowboys picked him up via waivers last Tuesday.
Ryan said that Coe could be relied on as a direct replacement to Claiborne if need be.
"Well, we added this Coe kid so we're going to play him," Ryan said. "I coached with his dad. His dad's a good coach and I think this kid will be a better player. So we'll be fine with him. He's a good football player. He's got a lot of talent. He's a smart kid. If he needs to play he'll play. We're excited about him."