The Dallas Cowboys defensive line limps into Sunday night’s opener against the New York Giants
By Matthew Postins
The Dallas Cowboys were hoping their injury woes in the trenches would be behind them this season. But as the season opener looms on Sunday night the Cowboys are terribly thin on the defensive line.
The Cowboys lost defensive tackle Ben Bass on Thursday for at least two weeks after he suffered a dislocated shoulder.
The loss of Bass isn’t the worst of it. Defensive end Anthony Spencer – who has been out for more than a month after knee surgery – hasn’t practiced all week and is doubtful for Sunday’s game.
Defensive tackle Jay Ratliff – whom the Cowboys had hoped would be the starter at the three-technique – is on the physically unable to perform list for the next six weeks as he recovers from hernia surgery.
The losses of Bass and Ratliff leave the Cowboys with just three tackles – starters Jason Hatcher and Nick Hayden and backup Landon Cohen. It’s unclear if the Cowboys will try to bring in reinforcements or use a larger end to serve as an extra tackle.
Meanwhile, George Selvie will start in Spencer’s place on the left side against the Giants. It will be Selvie’s first NFL start.
Head coach Jason Garrett is being tight-lipped about how he intends to use the defensive linemen that are available to play on Sunday.
Meanwhile, guard Ron Leary has practiced fully this week and looks like a go for Sunday’s game, where he is expected to start at left guard. Leary missed the final two preseason games after arthroscopic knee surgery.
Garrett isn’t providing much information on which players he will start on the offensive line either. The wild card would appear to be tackle Doug Free, who played at guard in the final two preseason games. The Cowboys could start Free at right guard or right tackle, depending upon how they feel about guard Mackenzy Bernadeau and tackle Jermey Parnell.
Running back Lance Dunbar (ankle) and safety Danny McCray (hamstring) will not play Sunday. Both were designated as out on Friday after not practicing all week.
Fortunately for Dallas, the New York Giants aren’t exactly the picture of health, either.
The Giants will be without two starters on the offensive line in tackle David Diehl and center David Baas. Tight end Adrien Robinson is also listed as out. None of the three practiced this week.
The Giants listed defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, defensive end Damontre Moore and fullback Henry Hynoski as questionable on Friday.
Wide receiver Victor Cruz and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul have both been limited by injuries this week but seem likely to play. Also limited this week has been rookie defensive end Damontre Moore and fullback Henry Hynoski. Pierre-Paul has been limited by a back injury.
Wide receiver Victor Cruz and cornerback Jayron Hosley are probable.
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