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Dallas Cowboys Update Injury List, Help Coming to Defense

Dallas Cowboys Defense
Image by Smiley N. Pool / Dallas Morning News

Casual observers of the 3-1 Dallas Cowboys would never know how severely depleted the defensive line has been so far this season. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has done a masterful job of moving players around to fill in for players out due to injury or quarantined for COVID-19. Appearing on The Fan 105.3, CEO Stephen Jones told listeners that several players should be available against the New York Giants this Sunday.

Jones said that linebacker Keanu Neal was removed from the Covid-19 list after being held out of the last two games due to a positive test. Neal was initially placed on the Covid list as a close-contact, but tested positive before the league-mandated five-day quarantine ended. Neal’s return will add even more depth to the lineup.

“That was just a tough situation for him,” Jones said on the phone call to the radio station. “He was sitting it out, he had five days that he had to test negative, and unfortunately, he tested positive toward the end of that, and the clock started over for him, so he missed two weeks. But he should be full-bore, ready to roll.”

First-round draft pick Micah Parsons has been moving from defensive end to linebacker and back again throughout the young season as injuries have left the Cowboys depleted up front. The news that Neal is likely to return against New York is made even better by Jones’ optimism that Carlos Watkins could be available on Sunday. Watkins has missed time due to a knee injury. His return to play means Parsons can revert to his linebacker position while getting help from Neal.

Jones did not list any new injuries and downplayed pain that kept cornerback Trevon Diggs off the field in the final minutes of the game. Diggs is the first Cowboys player in history to record five interceptions in four games and is on pace to set the team franchise record, and the NFL record for most interceptions in a season. Diggs was either kicked or stepped on late in the game and is dealing with back pain but is expected to play against the Giants.

The Cowboys added former Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Isaiah Johnson to the practice squad this week to ensure the team has plenty of depth in the position if Diggs is unable to play on Sunday. Johnson was waived by the Raiders on August 31, 2021.

Wide receiver Amari Cooper had a relatively quiet game against the Panthers with three catches on three targets and a touchdown. On Monday, he said that he is dealing with a “tweaked” hamstring but intends to do what he can to be ready for the Giants.

The Cowboys injury list continues to be a long one, but with some of the expected starters on defense nearing a return to the team, the near future appears to offer some relief on both sides of the ball.

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