The Cowboys expect to play without Morris Claiborne again this week. Owner Jerry Jones said on his weekly radio show that the starting cornerback is “probably out” for Thursday’s game against the undefeated Carolina Panthers.
Claiborne injured his right hamstring during the Nov. 15 game against the Bucs, leaving after 23 plays. He was inactive against Miami on Sunday.
If he doesn’t play against the Panthers, Claiborne will have missed 20 games in three seasons and 21 for his career. He ruptured the patellar tendon in his left knee last season, missing the final 12 games. He missed six games in 2013 with a hamstring injury. As a rookie, he sat out one game with a concussion.
“Obviously it’s a negative for him not to be there but those hamstrings are just a kind of a evaluate as you go,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan. “That’s why you don’t just say he’s out. On the other hand, you’ve got to probably be conservative with a hamstring. We got a lot of football left to play. We hope.”
Rookie Byron Jones, who had played mostly safety until Claiborne’s injury, will start at outside corner again this week. The first-round pick rolled his ankle on the next-to-last play of Sunday’s game but said he would be ready to play.
Jones has 39 tackles and a team-leading nine pass breakups, but the rookie had a rough day against Jarvis Landry. Landry caught all three targets against Jones for 57 yards. According to Pro Football Focus, Jones allowed five of six targets to be completed against him for 86 yards.
Still, Jones is on his way to making the all-rookie team.
“He has exceeded expectations,” Jerry Jones said on the radio show. “He really does give us a chance because he just understands everything so well. He’s just very intuitive. Apart from being book smart, he’s very intuitive, football intuitive, which can be different, too. Of course, he’s got the athletic ability to go with it.”