Optimism On Keanu Neal & Others For Week 5

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FRISCO, Texas – It sounds like some reinforcements are on the way for this Week 5 game against the New York Giants.

The Cowboys' full list of injuries is a long one, so they won't have everyone back this weekend. But team chief operating officer Stephen Jones did offer some optimistic timelines on Monday afternoon, starting with Keanu Neal.

Sunday was Neal's second-straight missed game after being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Sept. 22. As Jones illustrated, Neal was initially placed on the list as a close contact, but he eventually tested positive later in that week. Having to restart that isolation period so close to the Sept. 27 game against Philadelphia was always going to make it difficult to get back in time for Week 4 against Carolina.

"That was just a tough situation for him," Jones said. "He was sitting it out, he had five days that he had to test negative, and unfortunately he tested positive toward the end of that and the clock started over for him so he missed two weeks. But he should be full-bore, ready to roll."

It will bear monitoring, but Neal's return would be a boost for the Cowboys' linebacker corps, as the coaching staff continues to juggle Micah Parsons' position flexibility to ease concerns on the defensive line.

Speaking of which, the defensive line could be getting some help back, as well. Joes did allow that Dorance Armstrong is still unlikely to be available against the Giants, but he was optimistic about the return of Carlos Watkins from a tweaked knee.

"I think we'll get Carlos Watkins back this week, and hopefully Armstrong's not far behind," he said.

Finally, the last update might be the biggest relief. Ty Nsekhe was hospitalized with a heat-related illness on Sept. 16, the Thursday before the Cowboys' Week 2 trip to Los Angeles. Nsekhe was released from the hospital the following day, but he has been out the last two weeks while he recovers.

Jones was optimistic that Nsekhe is now ready to return to the lineup. Terence Steele figures to remain as the starting right tackle after three impressive showings in place of La'el Collins, but Nsekhe adds some quality depth.

"He should be ready to jump right back in there as our third tackle," Jones said. "Steele has obviously been doing a good job, so we'll probably keep that chemistry and let Nsekhe be our swing tackle for this game."

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