Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys LB Rolando McClain dealing with sore neck, concussion-like symptoms

Linebacker Rolando McClain is the only notable player who suffered an injury Sunday, taking only 20 snaps and missing the second half after being evaluated for concussion-like symptoms and dehydration.

McClain is also dealing with a sore neck from the same hit that he was evaluated for concussion-like symptoms, coach Jason Garrett said. However, Garrett is hopeful that he’ll be able to practice by Thursday and play in Sunday’s divisional round playoff game at Green Bay.

“He’s a really tough individual, so we’re certainly hopeful,” Garrett said. “It sounds like he’s feeling better today.”

Linebacker Anthony Hitchens, who is dealing with a high right ankle sprain himself, picked up the slack left by McClain. Hitchens wasn’t expected to play as many snaps as he did (33), but that changed when McClain went down with an injury.

“What he did was pretty darn special,” Garrett said of Hitchens. “He just kept playing and playing through it. We planned to have him in a role where he wasn’t going to have to play that much.

“Before you know it, Rolando can’t play and now he’s out there probably playing double the snaps we had planned to have him play, and he showed up. He kind of led the unit, communicated well. I thought it was a heck of an effort by him.”

Garrett went on to say that defensive tackle Terrell McClain suffered an ankle injury, although the severity isn’t known at this point.

Right tackle Doug Free, meanwhile, continues to work his way back from a left ankle injury and it’s looking more likely that he’ll miss a fourth consecutive game. Garrett didn’t sound overly optimistic about Free being healthy enough to go Sunday, saying he’s making “a little progress.”

That means Jermey Parnell will start once again in Free’s spot.

As far as Parnell’s play against the Lions, Garrett said: “I thought he held up fairly well. That’s a good front. At times there was some push in the pocket. At times he didn’t block the guy that we wanted him to block.

“As the game wore on, I think he probably played a little stronger and he gave Tony [Romo] a little bit more time. He’s a good player and he has a lot of physical ability. I think he’s learning how to use that, but I think he’s also demonstrated some mental and emotional toughness. I think we saw that a lot in the game yesterday.”

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