IRVING, Texas – It seemed like a bad sign when Morris Claiborne sat out of Monday's walkthrough with his hamstring injury, and Tuesday morning only confirmed that.
Asked about his team's health heading into Thursday's matchup against Carolina, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said it's not looking likely that his fourth-year corner will be available to go.
"He's probably out," Jones said.
That can't be considered a surprise, given that it's been just nine days since Claiborne injured the hamstring during the Nov. 15 loss to Tampa Bay. He left the field right before halftime and did not return the rest of the way.
Of course, given that it is an oft-discussed "soft tissue injury," the Cowboys will take Claiborne's situation one day at a time. Jones did express his doubts about Claiborne's availability, but he wasn't quite willing to rule him out completely.
On top of that, he expressed the need for caution, given that the Cowboys still have five games left to play after Thanksgiving.
"Obviously, it's a negative for him not to be there, but those hamstrings are just kind of an evaluate-as-you-go – so that's why you don't just say he's out," he said. "On the other hand, you've probably got to be conservative with a hamstring. We've got a lot of football left to play, we hope."
In his place, it seems like a good bet that Byron Jones will get his second-consecutive start at cornerback. The rookie struggled a bit last week against Miami, and he rolled his ankle at the tail end of the game.
Despite that, the rookie will be available to play, and the man who drafted him said he's continually impressed with his development each week.
"He's exceeded expectations. He really does give us a chance, because he just understands everything so well," Jones said. "He's very intuitive – apart from being smart, book smart. He's very intuitive – football intuitive. Of course he's got the athletic ability to go with it."