No decision on Cowboys’ Waters yet, but IR seems likely

Posted Friday, Nov. 01, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Guard Brian Waters’ season hasn’t officially been declared over, but the finality of it could come Saturday.

That’s when the Dallas Cowboys need to set their roster for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, and it seems inevitable that Waters will go on season-ending injured reserve, something executive vice president Stephen Jones alluded to Friday afternoon.

Waters started the past five games for the Cowboys before suffering three injuries in Sunday’s 31-30 loss to the Lions in Detroit. Waters originally injured his knee, and then had rib and triceps injuries occur when he returned.

The triceps injury proved to be the most severe and will require surgery at some point. The Cowboys have given Waters time to explore his options to see if he could somehow play, but it’s unlikely there is a realistic solution, and his roster spot is needed.

There is a shortage of cornerbacks right now and Waters’ spot is expected to go to Micah Pellerin, a practice-squad player who is set to make his NFL debut Sunday.

For the 36-year-old Waters, it could mark the end of an impressive 13-year career. The North Texas product went from an undrafted rookie free agent to six-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman.

The longtime Kansas City Chief sat out the 2012 season before agreeing to a $1.5 million contract with another $1.5 million in incentives with the Cowboys on Sept. 4.

“He’s a pro,” Jones said. “He didn’t come back to get the proverbial check. I think he really came back to compete and make a difference, and he’s made a huge difference for us.… Obviously, we’re glad we signed him. Very unfortunate what’s happened to him.”

Mackenzy Bernadeau will replace Waters at guard.

Austin, Ware doubtful

Wide receiver Miles Austin and defensive end DeMarcus Ware are listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game.

Austin did not practice this week, as the Cowboys essentially shut him down in hopes that it would help him recover more fully from a hamstring injury. Austin has been sidelined the past three weeks and last caught a pass in Week 3.

“We’re really wanting to make sure we get him 100 percent back and he’s not out there playing 85-90 percent,” Stephen Jones said.

Ware (thigh) also didn’t practice this week, but is making progress. He still isn’t expected to return for at least another week, however.

Safety J.J. Wilcox (knee), Waters (elbow), linebacker DeVonte Holloman (neck) and cornerback Morris Claiborne (hamstring) have been ruled out for Sunday’s game.

Running back DeMarco Murray (knee) is listed as probable and is expected to start at running back. Safety Danny McCray (hip/toe) is listed as questionable, but said he is ready to go after practice Friday.

Linebacker duties

Bruce Carter has the third-most tackles for the Cowboys this season, but his playing time has decreased a little bit lately with Ernie Sims getting more action.

Coach Jason Garrett had nothing but praise for Sims, who has earned more snaps.

“Ernie Sims has come in here and said, ‘Somehow, some way, I’m going to be on your football team and I’m going to be a factor on your football team,’” Garrett said. “It’s a competitive situation and no one’s entitled to any job.”

Last week against the Lions, Carter had 45 snaps while Sims had 35. Carter was the starter, though, and has been the starter every week, except against Denver. He lost the starting job that week to Sims because of “lack of effort” against San Diego. Sims, meanwhile, approaches every week as though he’s going to start.

“I just prepare as if I’m the starter,” Sims said. “I go out there and try to make plays… make big plays.”

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison

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