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Cowboys give status update on Smith, Hankins, more


FRISCO, Texas — It was an unusually long injury report for the Dallas Cowboys this week, as compared to their mostly positive fortunes over the last several weeks. It's headlined by offensive lineman Tyler Smith and defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, of course, but there are others who are now dealing with some medical issues.

Smith, who suffered a torn plantar fascia in the victory over the Detroit Lions (third quarter), hasn't practiced this week but is labeled as questionable for the Week 18 bout against the Washington Commanders.

Joining him as questionable is Hankins, who missed several games in December with a high ankle sprain before returning to practice this week for the first time since suffering the injury.

They both have a chance of taking the field in the all-important regular season finale.

Keeping to the defensive side of the equation, regarding one of Hankins' defensive line compatriots, Dorance Armstrong entered the week with an ankle injury that cost him Thursday's practice, but nothing more (limited participant on Wednesday and Friday).

He, too, is listed as questionable.

One player who is certain to return is running back Rico Dowdle, who missed the battle with the Lions due to a high ankle sprain he had been playing through for weeks before finally being sidelined for rest and recovery heading into the playoffs. Dowdle says he feels much better due to the decision last week.

The seasonal bug continues to make its rounds in Dallas' locker room, however, with several players having contracted it this week: Malik Hooker, Juanyeh Thomas, Chuma Edoga and starting center Tyler Biadasz.

Hooker also continues to work through an ankle issue.

Though each of them are labeled as questionable and not doubtful, it's something to keep an eye on, particularly for Biadasz — who was most recently added to the injury report as DNP (did not participate) on Friday while the other three players returned to practice in a limited capacity.

It's been an unpleasant game of musical chairs for the Cowboys' offensive line in 2023, and they'll certainly need Biadasz available for a game they view as "a must-win" due to their ability to clinch both the NFC East title and the No. 2 seed in the NFC bracket of the playoffs.

In all, the Cowboys have seven players listed as questionable this week but none as doubtful and they've ruled none out ahead of their final walkthrough on Saturday.

This means they'll be either mostly or at full strength — IR residents notwithstanding — when they take the field in what's become the most important game of their regular season; and one that will likely dictate how far they might go in the playoffs.