IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys might have to prepare for a Sunday without two of their opening day starting linebackers.
Groin injuries continued to keep both Justin Durant and Rolando McClain off the practice field Thursday, leaving Bruce Carter, Kyle Wilber and rookie Anthony Hitchens as the three starting linebackers.
"The position flex is important for those guys," said head coach Jason Garrett. "If you're a backup linebacker, you need to be able to play a couple of spots. We have used (Hitchens) at Mike, we have used him at Will, so we do anticipate him having to be ready to play in this game depending on the health of other guys."
The good news for the Cowboys is quarterback Tony Romo (back) and wide receiver Dez Bryant (shoulder) were dressed out and back on the practice field. Both players sat out Wednesday.
Garrett said it's important to give Romo work, see how we responds, get feedback and move on from there in determining his workload.
"That's what we did in training camp," Garrett said. "it wasn't an overarching plan to say, 'Let's look at the calendar with Tony Romo and practice these two, take this one off.' That wasn't the plan. The plan was to be mindful of the work that he got and respond accordingly. That's what we really do with every player, particularly players coming back off of an injury." [embedded_ad]
In addition to McClain and Durant, defensive tackle Davon Coleman (calf) and Joseph Randle (concussion) sat out again. Defensive tackle Anthony Spencer (knee) was dressed out to practice in some capacity for a second straight day.
McClain was all over the stat sheet in Sunday's game and appeared to get out of it unscathed, but Garrett said the middle linebacker suffered his groin injury at some point in the second half against the Titans. Garrett said it seemed like he was fine initially that day, but sometimes injuries can feel worse afterward.
"He has to practice this week in some way, shape or form for us to believe that he can play in the game," Garrett said. "So hopefully as the week goes on, he's able to do get out there and get some snaps."