FRISCO, Texas – A new target date is in order for the Cowboys' injury concerns.
From the time the season started, "after the bye week" has been the catchall for any guy who's been missing from the lineup. With the Cowboys' break situated just before midseason, it was a logical point of emphasis for the players who have missed the first portion of the year.
Well, the bye weeks is now here. So where exactly do the Cowboys stand with their various injuries?
To hear it from Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy, the news is encouraging for Michael Gallup. It's been just more than a month since Gallup strained his calf in the season-opening loss to Tampa Bay, and McCarthy was optimistic Monday that he may be able to take part in practice next week.
"I'm hopeful when we come back from the bye week we can maybe start him in individual like the three last week," McCarthy said.
For reference, McCarthy was referring to several other injury concerns that already began their road back last week. Donovan Wilson practiced last week and was able to return to action in the win against New England. Additionally, rookie cornerback Kelvin Joseph and second-year tight end Sean McKeon began their practice windows as they continue the process of returning from training camp injuries.
Officially, Joseph and McKeon were both moved to the injured reserve/designated to return list, which gives the Cowboys three weeks to evaluate them before moving them back to the active roster. Given that the front office opted to open those windows prior to the bye week, it's at least a decent bet Joseph and McKeon could be ready for Oct. 31 against Minnesota, though only time will tell.
It's premature to make that guess about Gallup, but at the very least it'll be an encouraging sign if he can start practicing next week.
What about some of the other, longer term concerns? It has been about a month exactly since DeMarcus Lawrence broke his foot during a Week 2 practice. The prognosis was initially a two-month recovery, and McCarthy reiterated that Monday – though he did acknowledge that Neville Gallimore is a bit closer in his return from the hyperextended elbow he suffered during the preseason.
"Tank is still a number of weeks away. Gallimore is probably between Michael and Tank," he said.
There's also the case of Trysten Hill, who is also eligible to return to the roster now after spending the first six weeks of the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. The Cowboys haven't yet indicated when he might start practicing, but defensive coordinator Dan Quinn didn't forget to include him and Dorance Armstrong in his hopes for the upcoming weeks.
"There's some other guys we know are on the way back – Lawrence and Armstrong and Gallimore and Trysten," Quinn said Monday. "So those are four more that we can put back into a rotation sooner than later."
To put it more plainly, it sounds like the Cowboys are optimistic that Gallup, Joseph and McKeon can be back on the roster in the next couple weeks. It's been a month since Armstrong sprained his ankle, and the fact that the Cowboys never moved him to injured reserve means he can return to practice whenever he's ready.
There's not a definitive timetable for Gallimore and Hill, but it sounds like both players can be available sometime in November. As expected, Lawrence has the longest timeline of all.
It's going to be gradual, but the Cowboys should be getting plenty of bodies back over the next month.