Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys downgrade three defenders to out for Giants game

David Irving has been ruled out of the Cowboys-Giants game as he recovers from a concussion.
David Irving has been ruled out of the Cowboys-Giants game as he recovers from a concussion. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

The Dallas Cowboys’ defense is getting its leader back for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants, but it’s losing three other contributors.

As linebacker Sean Lee returns from a hamstring injury, the Cowboys have ruled out cornerback Orlando Scandrick (back), defensive tackle David Irving (concussion) and linebacker Justin Durant (concussion/illness). None of them made the trip to the New York area with the team on Saturday.

Scandrick was not expected to play after fracturing bones in his back in last week’s game against the Washington Redskins. Rookie Jourdan Lewis is expected to take his place in the starting lineup. Recently demoted cornerback Anthony Brown also got reps at the position this week in practice.

Irving’s absence also isn’t a surprise. He didn’t practice all week and has yet to clear the NFL’s concussion protocol. Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence believes Irving sustained his concussion in the first quarter of the Redskins game, but it wasn’t diagnosed until afterward.

With Irving out, Maliek Collins will be the starting three-technique and Richard Ash will be at nose tackle. Collins started the season as the three-technique before moving to nose when Irving returned from a four-game suspension to start the season.

Durant has battled injuries throughout his career, but did practice in a limited fashion this week. But the reserve linebacker isn’t ready to return to game action.

The Cowboys will have Lee back at the weakside spot with Anthony Hitchens in the middle. Damien Wilson will start at strong side linebacker and Jaylon Smith will play in sub packages.