IRVING, Texas – It's going to be an interesting wait for Sunday to see what the Cowboys' linebacker corps will look like against the Buccaneers.
Thanks to a variety of injuries, all three of the team's preferred starters are listed on the injury report with some type of ailment. Two of them, Sean Lee and Rolando McClain, were not present for the start of Friday morning's practice.
There are still 48 hours until kickoff, but it seems highly unlikely Lee will suit up in Tampa, just one week after suffering the second concussion of his season. Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones agreed with that assessment on Friday morning.
"The fact that Sean has had a concussion earlier this year really puts that up in the air," Jones said. "We will take a look at that right up until game time, although that's not going to change the facts that he's had a concussion pretty recently. So, I would say that it's listed as doubtful, and it should be."
Lee left the field early in the third quarter of last week's loss to Philadelphia. He is going through concussion protocol and has said he feels fine, but it's only been about a month since he excited the Oct. 4 loss to New Orleans after suffering the same injury.
The prognosis was rosier for Anthony Hitchens, who has been limited all week by a knee injury that forced him out of the Eagles game. Hitchens did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday, but he was present for team activities Friday morning. Jones said Hitchens has a history of coping with injuries that gives him optimism.
"Because Hitchens is Hitchens, then I feel better. He played at the end of last year with an inordinate physical handicap relative to his ankle at that particular time," Jones said. "And, again, we saw him play and play effectively. So, you could look to him probably easier than Sean."
Perhaps the greatest unknown of the trio is McClain, who is facing various injuries. He did not participate in Wednesday's practice with a hand injury, but he returned to the field in full capacity on Thursday.
"He's dealing with a few different things," said Cowboys coach Jason Garret on Thursday. "We do anticipate him being able to practice at some point today. But he's just dealing with a few different injuries."
That was short-lived, however, as McClain was not at practice on Friday morning.