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The Dallas Cowboys had a lot of questions on Wednesday about who would be available for the Baltimore Ravens game. Practice on Thursday may have provided some answers.
Going through the news and Twitter traffic coming out of the Dallas Cowboys' Thursday practices had almost a training camp feel to it. There are several unfolding stories centering around who is injured and who is back on the field. So let's get caught up.
"I want to be careful with it," Spencer said of his injury. "Right now I feel like I'm going to play."
He will be welcome. If he is near full speed, having him and Jay Ratliff both line up should be very helpful.
There were only four players that did not participate in practice according to the official injury report. One was Morris Claiborne, but he was ill, not injured, and is expected to be back at practice Friday. The other non-participants were center Ryan Cook and punters Chris Jones and Brian Moorman. There was also a minor kerfuffle among the writers when Matt Johnson did not come out on the field at the start of practice, but it turned out he was held up by a no-notice mandatory drug test. Having been subject to those myself at times, I can attest that they always catch you to collect a sample as you are walking out of the restroom, having just completely emptied your bladder.
With Cook out, it is time for the return of Phil Costa, who is expected to start on Sunday. Offensive line coach Bill Callahan refused to commit himself on who would have the job once Cook is healthy.
"We just go out on the practice field, we let them practice, we see who's more consistent, who's more ready physically," Callahan said.
I also saw one tweet that does bring up the fact that there is another possibility lurking out there that has been out of sight for a while, named Kevin Kowalski.
Good question.. no immediate timetable last I checked, but he's finally out at practices MT @perrisonart What is the status of K. Kowalski?— Rowan Kavner (@KavnerDC) October 11, 2012
There's not much else to go on, but I believe Killer K is eligible to come off PUP status after this game. (If I understand it correctly, the CBA specifies that PUP players may return after the sixth regular season game, and I believe bye weeks do not count.) It is an interesting question, indeed.
Which leaves the question of what to do about a punter. For those who are wondering, the injury to Moorman happened while he was warming up before Wednesday's practice, so it was as big a surprise to him and the team as it was to us.
"Freak deal, not much I can do about it," Moorman said after Thursday's practice. "It's frustrating, just want to get it healthy and see where it takes me."
The Cowboys are looking at all options. Daniel Sepulveda, T.J. Conley, and Chas Henry, who was cut earlier this season by the Philadelphia Eagles, are all being brought in to work out for the team. Meanwhile, the final fall back position would be to have placekicker Dan Bailey step in, as he did in one game for Mat McBriar when he was injured last year. Bailey sees this strictly as a last resort.
"We've talked about it and we've gone over it, but I don't see it happening," Bailey said.
Perhaps. But just in case . . .
Dan Bailey takes a punt snap. twitter.com/calexmendez/st…— Carlos A. Mendez (@calexmendez) October 11, 2012
One way or another, somebody will be available to punt the ball on Sunday. That leaves the question of who holds for Bailey on extra points and field goals. And the answer is fairly obvious. Tony Romo is ready to go, despite a little incident in Seattle a few years ago.
"I took a few snaps this week," Romo said. "So if that's needed, I'll be ready."
There is also one other concern for the team, returning kicks, that is being addressed, at least as a contingency.
There was also one tweet that Dunbar fielded some punts, but I am not sure if that was accurate. I know it may shock you that I don't believe every thing I see on the web. Call me a cynic.
That should catch you up on where things stand today. Expect them to change tomorrow.