On the Saturday before the Dallas Cowboys big game with the Pittsburgh Steelers, let’s take a look at the latest injury updates.
Remarkably, the Steelers will have the services of their starting center Maurkice Pouncey. After having surgery on his dislocated thumb earlier this week, he is good to go for Sunday.
Pouncey, who allowed some pain lingers in the thumb and hand, was wearing a sizable wrap over his hand earlier this week but had just a normal playing glove on for practice Friday. He said “maybe a little tape underneath (the glove) on my stitches” would be the only modification he would have to add because of the injury.
This is huge for the Steelers. Imagine if Dallas had to play the game without Travis Frederick.
The news is more murky for tight end Ladarius Green (see update below for news that he will be active). He’s been out all year and the Steelers have until 4 PM Tuesday to activate him off the PUP list or lose him for the year. Signs are pointing to him being available based on practice patterns this week.
Unlike last week, Green said, he kept [taking first-team reps] through Friday. In the tight end's first full week of practice back with the team – ahead of the Ravens game – Green did get first-team reps, but they tapered away at the end of the week, fellow tight end Xavier Grimble said.
"So if he wasn't going to play he'd be taking reps from somebody who was going to play, so that's kind of how I look at things," Grimble said. "There's no wasted reps during the week.
"In regards to practicing, I'm pretty sure we're planning on him playing."
It’s his first game back if he plays, so expectations for him should be somewhat muted, but he could be a presence that the Cowboys have to plan for.
[UPDATE] ESPN is reporting that sources are telling them that the Steelers will activate Green off the PUP list before the Cowboys game. He should be available to play on Sunday. [END UPDATE]
The Steelers will be without WR Markus Wheaton, RB DeAngelo Williams, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey and S Jordan Dangerfield.
On the Cowboys side, the team has officially labeled Tony Romo as questionable. This is the first time this season he hasn’t been ruled out of the game going into the weekend. Still, all expectations are that Mark Sanchez will remain the number two QB, meaning Romo will likely not dress for Sunday. Next week is when it gets interesting.
The Cowboys big issue is Tyron Smith. Not only his back, but a hip flexor injury that he picked up in the Cleveland game has forced him to miss practice twice this week and participate in a limited fashion once. The expectation at this point is that he’ll play.
"Tyron is working through some things that at the end of the day you got to believe he's going to get through," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Friday on KRLD-FM 105.3 The Fan.
This is huge, Dallas needs their all-star left tackle. If he can’t go, there is no Chaz Green to replace him, he didn’t practice all week again with his foot injury. That would really scramble the offensive line.
In more positive news, Ron Leary is expected to go after clearing the concussion protocol and practicing on Friday.