IRVING, Texas – From offseason surgery on his shoulder last year to offseason elbow surgery upcoming this year, DeMarcus Ware's injuries continue to pile up in droves.
Ware said he believes he'll get his elbow scoped in a couple weeks. This is the second straight year he's ended the season with multiple injuries and an injury to his elbow, but the 31-year-old doesn't believe he's nearing the end of his career.
"I think the main thing is I've got to think about how I started training camp," Ware said. "I wasn't hurt then and I felt like I couldn't be stopped. I've got to figure out now how to get through the whole season without being hurt and going back to the regimen of what injuries did I have, how can I make those injuries better and stronger for the next season and not let those things linger around."
He was virtually unstoppable during training camp. Tyron Smith, who'd become one of the league's top tackles and get named to his first Pro Bowl, couldn't stop him. Ware followed that up by compiling four sacks in his first three games.
Then the injuries set in.
First, and most glaringly, it was the quad problem that started to hamper him in the middle of the season. It lingered, and was followed shortly after by back and elbow injuries. What began as another promising start to the year culminated in just six total sacks on the season – his lowest total in his nine-year career.
But he doesn't feel like he's lost a step. He believes it's all about repairing his body to get back to the form he was at in camp. Ware also said injuries were the reason the Cowboys couldn't get over the hump this year again.
"The little injuries happen with the quad and the elbow and the back," Ware said. "So you sit back and you think about, 'What can I do now this offseason to make sure that doesn't happen again?' Because I know exactly where I can be and how I can play. [embedded_ad]
"Injuries took a toll on me a lot this season, but that's not an excuse. I got out there and played, so I've got to figure out some way to get healthy this offseason for next season."
Ware also missed the first three games of his career this year as he tried to fight through the injuries. He gritted it out late, but ultimately the Cowboys came up short again.
"It is a disappointing season," Ware said. "Ending 8-8, you get tired of it. After a while, each year, you just feel like you lose something. There's something you lose for each one of the years, and it's like, how do you come back from that? It's been three times where it's been an NFC East game and not being able to follow through with it. So it's like, now, what do you do in the offseason to make sure it doesn't happen."
Ware said he knows the team will do everything it can to make sure things turn around, though it's hard to predict if the move is the right one. He said personally he needs to do what's right for the betterment of the team. In his case, that could mean preparing his body to prevent injuries and also possibly restructuring his contract.
Whatever decisions are made this offseason, Ware said it's important they happen quickly.
"I don't think there's always a for sure roadmap, but you've got to have a roadmap early," Ware said. "You can't have it late. You've got to start that roadmap right now. It's got to start all the way from watching games to getting surgeries or whatever you need to get, getting healthy all the way to OTAs, knowing what's going on. It goes all the way through the offseason to make sure once training camp hits, everything is right."