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Cowboys vs. Buccaneers Playoff Injury Report

Sports

The Cowboys will take on the Buccaneers in the first round of the playoffs | Image by DraftKings Nation

Following a disastrous Week 18 effort that saw the Cowboys unable to keep up with third-string quarterback Sam Howell and the Commanders, owner and general manager Jerry Jones offered a hint of positive news as the Dallas Cowboys prepare to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild Card round of the NFL Playoffs.

Speaking during his weekly appearance on 105.3 The Fan, Jones indicated that there is a good possibility that four key starters for the Cowboys will be able to play on Monday.

Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, center Tyler Biadasz, and corner DaRon Bland may all be available when the Cowboys take the field in Tampa Bay.

“That’s our hope right now,” Jones said. “You never know once you get them out there practicing, if you have a setback or something … I think our trainers feel good about where they’ve progressed up to this point … They’re ready for them to work back into practice this week and get ready to go play the Buccaneers.”

Biadasz missed Week 18 while dealing with an ankle injury and his absence was highly noticed in both run-blocking and pass-protection against Washington.

The Cowboys were unable to mount any type of ground attack for the second week in a row and returning Biadasz will allow other players on the line to shift back to their traditional roles.

Biadasz said that he has full mobility in his ankle and is ready for a full workload, per the Dallas Cowboys website.

Hankins was picked up mid-season to address run-stopping deficiencies and has become a huge success in a limited time in North Texas. Hankins is dealing with a pectoral injury that forced him onto injured reserve.

“I feel good. I feel like I could’ve been back sooner but, with the [IR] rules, I had to be out four weeks,” Hankins said. “But I’m not mad about it, it just gave me more time to get my body right and ready for the playoffs.”

Bland has emerged as a rookie star and has quickly climbed the depth chart this season to establish himself as a starter. He is dealing with a chest injury, but head coach Mike McCarthy indicated that Bland is trending in the right direction to be available.

Tampa Bay may get a significant player returned to the lineup in center Ryan Jensen. Jensen, a Pro-Bowl-caliber player, has been out since training camp with a significant knee injury.

The team noted that Jensen has practiced the last two weeks, an indication that he could be ready on Monday. The Buccaneers could use his help as they are also dealing with injuries to both backup centers.

“I’m sure everyone’s a little bit day-to-day right now,” quarterback Tom Brady said.

“I’m hoping we’re pretty healthy. I believe we’re going to be as healthy as we’ve been all year, which is kind of exciting to get some guys back that haven’t been in there and then see if we can go play our best football.

“I even said after the game, it sucks being 8-9. You’re playing against teams that have way better records, 12-5, whatever it is. But you know what? The only thing that matters is who wins that day.”

The Cowboys and Buccaneers met for the season opener this year, a game that the Bucs handily won while sending several Cowboys, including quarterback Dak Prescott, onto injured reserve.

With the stakes higher than they have ever been, Prescott and the Cowboys will look to get a first-ever victory over Brady and Co. on Monday Night Football from Tampa Bay.

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