ARLINGTON, Texas – The Cowboys' inactives list for Week 5 reads like a case of good news, bad news.
Good news first: Tyron Smith and Dan Bailey are both active for Sunday's kickoff against the Bengals. Both players have been battling back injuries and their availability for game day was questionable, but both are expected to be ready for game time.
The bad news: Dez Bryant and Orlando Scandrick have both been ruled inactive after being unable to practice during the week before the game. Bryant is still recovering from the hairline fracture he suffered in his knee two weeks ago, and he will miss his second straight game.
Brice Butler will once again get the start at wide receiver in Bryant's absence. He logged five receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown last weekend against San Francisco.
Scandrick has been missing from the lineup since Week 2, when he aggravated his hamstrings in the Cowboys' 27-23 win against Washington. This will be his third-straight absence. Rookie cornerback Anthony Brown will once again get the snaps at nickel back, where he has excelled over the past three weeks.
The Cowboys' other inactives are Tony Romo, Lance Dunbar, Darius Jackson, Chaz Green and David Irving.
It's been expected that Dunbar would sit out this week, as he was unable to practice with soreness in his knee. It's a bit curious, though, that the Cowboys opted to sit Jackson without Dunbar available in the lineup. Jackson's absence means the offense will have just two running backs available in Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred Morris, although fullbacks Keith Smith and Rod Smith will both be active.
Green is sitting out this week after logging two starts at left tackle during Tyron Smith's absence. He sprained his foot during the win against San Francisco and was unable to practice. Green's injury puts the Cowboys in an interesting position if anything should happen to Tyron Smith or Doug Free. If any further injury issues arise, it's possible the Cowboys could have to shuffle their offensive line dramatically.
David Irving is still recovering from the concussion he suffered against the 49ers, which prevented him from practicing this week. The Cowboys won't have him available, but they will see the 2016 debut of DeMarcus Lawrence.
Lawrence was suspended for the first four games of the season after violating the NFL's substance abuse policy in the offseason. He practiced this week and was moved to the active roster on Saturday afternoon. Lawrence led the Cowboys with eight sacks in 2015.