The Cowboys have ruled out four players for Sunday's game with the Patriots, including defensive end Jason Hatcher, who will miss his second straight game with a calf injury. In fact, Hatcher suffered the injury in the first half against Washington on Sept. 26 and has now missed three weeks, including the bye week.
At least Marcus Spears (79 career starts) is an established vet who will start, alongside Kenyon Coleman. Backup Sean Lissemroe will play more this week as well and has done well in an expanded role.
Other players out include fullback Tony Fiammetta, whose nagging hamstring injury will keep him out for a third straight game. Look for John Phillips to handle more fullback and H-back duties.
David Buehler will miss his third straight game with a groin injury, meaning place-kicker Dan Bailey will take care of the kickoff duties again. This will be Bailey's first game to kick off outdoors, after two straight games at Cowboys Stadium.
And veteran lineman Derrick Dockery is still out with a sprained knee/broken tibia in his right leg. Rookie Bill Nagy will start again at left guard.
Sunday's game will be a return of injured players such as wide receiver Miles Austin and cornerback Orlando Scandrick, who have missed two and three games, respectively.