Cowboys Hopeful LB Hitchens Can Practice This Week; Optimistic For Free, McClain

IRVING, Texas – While linebacker Anthony Hitchens does have an apparent high-ankle sprain, the Cowboys are still hopeful the rookie can practice some this week and possibly play in Sunday's playoff game with the Lions.

Hitchens sustained the injury Sunday against the Redskins when he got caught up in a pile near the goal line. The rookie from Iowa had to be helped off and did not return.

"He hurt his ankle yesterday in the ballgame and was not able to finish," Garrett reiterated during his Monday press conference at Valley Ranch. "We'll take his status day by day. Hopefully he can practice this week."

Hitchens has been a productive player this year, especially considering all of the injuries that have occurred at linebacker, beginning back in the offseason when Sean Lee suffered season-ending ACL injury. Justin Durant was lost for the year with a biceps injury and Rolando McClain has missed time with various injuries, including an illness that kept him in Dallas during Sunday's trip to Washington.

"He's feeling better," Garrett said of McClain, who finished the season with 108 tackles based on coaches' film. "We do anticipate him being able to practice this week."

The Cowboys are also hopeful for Doug Free's return to the lineup. Free has been out with a sprained foot that includes bone spurs.

"Doug Free has not played the last couple of weeks, as we know. We're hopeful he can practice on Wednesday," Garrett said. "We'll see how he does with that work as we go forward in the week."

As for Josh Brent, the defensive tackle was expected to play Sunday against Washington, but suffered a setback with his calf injury during his warmups before the game. The Cowboys decided to rest him and activate Kenneth Boatright.

"He warmed up before the game and his calf was grabbing him," Garrett said of Brent. "The reason we made the decision we did was we didn't think he was going to be able to get through the game. We didn't want a further setback. We just felt like it was in everyone's best interest not to play him, and hopefully he will be available this week."

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