The Cowboys have been very deliberate this year about managing their players’ health. Veterans like Sean Lee and Tyron Smith are getting regular off days, there’s hardly any tackling in camp, and even the traditional Blue/White scrimmage turned out to be a Blue/White practice for the second year in a row.
Against that backdrop, it’s worth looking back at previous years to understand how this year’s team is faring in terms of injuries.
The league doesn’t require teams to release injury reports during training camp, so we can’t compare the Cowboys numbers to those of other teams. But if we look at how many injured players the Cowboys had after the Blue/White scrimmage in each of the past years, we’ll get a pretty good idea of how the injury rates compare.
What we know is that the Cowboys six players on their injury report at this stage of training camp last year. In 2016, they had 15 players on their injury report, 16 players in 2015, 18 players in 2014, and 14 players on their injury report at this time in 2013.
This year, the number on the injury report is also at seven, excluding players taking a veteran day off, but including Randy Gregory (who is not injured but working on his conditioning), David Irving (who is in rehab), and Cedric Wilson (out for the season). Effectively, that’s five players out with injuries.
The injury report numbers cover the first two weeks of camp, but a slightly different number of padded practices in each year:
2013: Seven practices (Incl. Blue/White scrimmage)
2014: Eleven practices (Incl. Blue/White scrimmage and the two practices after that)
2015: Ten practices (Incl. Blue/White scrimmage and one practice after that)
2016: Eight practices (Incl. Blue/White scrimmage)
2017: Eight practices (Incl. Blue/White practice)
2018: Eight practices (Incl. Blue/White practice)
With just seven players on the injury report, the injury number this year is less than half that of the past few years. And a closer look at the injury reports from all the last six years shows that the difference in the number of injured players is not just about the quantity of injuries, but also about the injury status of each player:
|Day-to-day||J. Hanna||M. Claiborne||D. Bryant||T. Crawford||M. Collins||D. Thompson||Achilles|
|C. Beasley||S. Moore||L. Dunbar||E. Elliott||R. Switzer||A. Hurns||Groin|
|D. Bryant||T. Patmon||O. Scandrick||T. McClain||C. Green|
|D. Coale||J. Hamilton||N. Hayden||D. Street||D. Irving|
|M. Bernadeau||M. Johnson||D. Free||C. Thornton||J. Lewis|
|R. Leary||B. Bass||D. Lawrence||K. Wilber|
|L.P. Ladouceur||G. Selvie||J. Randle|
|R. Cook||B. Gardner||A. Goodley|
|I. Igbinosun||R. McClain||J. Wetzel|
|Out 1-2 weeks||J. Parnell||T. McClain||T. McClain||C. Covington||Bronchitis|
|J. Ratliff||D. Weems||R. Gregory||None|
|Out indefinitely||A. Spencer||D. Lawrence||K. Boatright||M. Collins*||J. Durant*||M. Collins*||Foot|
|T. Crawford**||S. Lee**||B. Carr||L. Dunbar*||D. Irving*||Rehab|
|C. Whaley**||C. Whaley**||J. Hanna*||C. Wilson**||Shoulder|
|A. Spencer*||C. Green*||B. Mayowa*|
|A. Okoye||R. McClain*||D. McFadden*|
|D. McFadden*||J. Smith*|
|M. Nzeocha*||D. Wilson*|
|* PUP/NFI, **Out for Season|
The thing that immediately stands out about the 2018 injury list is that it has just two players listed as day-to-day. Allen Hurns did some partial work in the last padded practice but wasn’t a full participant as he continues to recover from a groin tightness, and Deonte Thompson has missed five straight practices with an Achilles issue that had already bothered hin during OTAs.
And while it’s nice to have just two players on the day-to-day list, it’s a bit worrying that both are wide receivers and both have had health issues in the past.
Still, this is a six-year low in “minor” injuries, and an almost complete absence of any longer-term issues. Maliek Collins is expected to rejoin the team shortly, as is Randy Gregory once he’s caught up on his conditioning.
Which just leaves David Irving, who is suspended for the first four games anyway, along with rookie LB Chris Covington, who is expected back with the team once his bronchitis clears up. The only player out for the season so far is Cedric Wilson.
So that is good news, as practices so far have resulted in fewer injuries than in previous years and the Cowboys are healthier than they’ve been at this point in any of the last six years.
Football is a violent sport in which injuries happen, and there are still a lot of camp practices scheduled and a lot of preseason minutes to be played. So far, the numbers suggest the Cowboys have been quite successful in managing their injuries, let’s hope it stays that way.