FRISCO, Texas – Injuries have impacted the Cowboys' roster at virtually every position this season, and cornerback is near the top of the list.
Through 13 games, the Cowboys' top four corners – Chidobe Awuzie, rookie Trevon Diggs, Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis – have yet to be active in the same game together.
Awuzie, Diggs and Brown – all working their way back from various injuries/absences – have only played together once this season: the opener in LA.
Could that change Sunday against San Francisco?
It's far from certain. But it's a possibility, at least – if not this week, then perhaps before the end of the season.
The Cowboys have activated Awuzie off the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Diggs (foot) has started his practice window on Reserve/Injured and could be activated any time in the next three weeks. Anthony Brown has missed the last three games with a ribs injury but continues to practice on a limited basis.
Only Lewis has strung together complete games recently after missing the opener with an ankle issue.
Head coach Mike McCarthy hopes to get a little closer to full strength at the position Sunday.
"We're going to give them the opportunity to. That's really what today's practice is for," McCarthy said Thursday morning. "The padded work is obviously the most important. Today will tell us where they are."
It's been a revolving door at the position all year and especially lately. With Awuzie, Diggs and Brown all inactive last Sunday at Cincinnati, the Cowboys rotated a group that included Lewis, Rashard Robinson, Deante Burton and practice squad elevations Saivion Smith and Chris Westry. Robinson (knee) and Smith (hand) got injured in the second half but were able to finish the game. Burton (shoulder) also popped up on the injury report this week.
But help does appear on the way.
Awuzie, who missed seven games earlier this season with a hamstring injury, has been cleared to return from the Reserve/COVID-19 list. McCarthy said Diggs, Brown and starting safety Donovan Wilson (groin) had productive practices Wednesday.
"They actually exceeded expectations for workload yesterday, so the report is this morning they feel good," McCarthy said. "This will be a big day for those guys. Hopefully we can sort out how they're going to play on Friday. … I felt both Diggs and Donovan looked good. And Chido also had a good day's work."
The nature of Brown's injury – an aggravation of a previous rib issue – has made his exact timetable a little less clear the last few weeks.
"This has been tough because he's done it twice," McCarthy said. "Just where he can get to the level where he can compete play in and play out, and hopefully he's close. The padded practice is usually the indicator when you come back from these types of injuries."
The Cowboys are finally back to a normal work schedule this week and typically will practice again Saturday before the game Sunday at AT&T Stadium.
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