By Shawn Lealos
The Dallas Cowboys head into the divisional playoff round of the 2014 NFL playoffs needing to be the pinnacle of health. The Green Bay Packers are their opponent and they are heading north to play in the sub-freezing temperatures of Lambeau Field. Needing a win to keep their Super Bowl hopes alive, here is a look at the Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers injury report.READ MORE: Opa-locka Hialeah Flea Market Vendors: 'We have to leave like dogs'
The biggest health concerns for the Dallas Cowboys come on the defensive side of the ball. With Justin Durant out for the season with an injury, Bruce Carter nursing an injured knee and Rolando McClain battling knee and concussion issues, the linebacker’s corps are in shambles. Last week, it looked like things were getting worse when Anthony Hitchens looked like he was going to miss the wild card game as well.
However, as fans who witnessed the controversial non-call on pass interference realize, Hitchens played. He is listed this week as questionable, but he played last week and should also play this week, despite the high ankle sprain.
More concerning is Rolando McClain. When the Cowboys middle linebacker is out of action, the team hurts. McClain missed time with a serious illness and is still suffering from his knee and concussion problems. He missed practice this week until Friday, when he finally returned. He is listed as questionable, but McClain has always played this season when he practices, so today is optimistic.
Jeremy Mincey, who has become the Cowboys’ best defensive lineman over the last month of the season, is also listed as questionable. Mincey and McClain both suffered concussions last week, so it may be out of their hands. If the Cowboys are missing either of those defensive stars, they will head into Green Bay with a strong disadvantage. Terrell McClain said he will play regardless of his practice status, despite an ankle injury.
The only player that will almost surely miss the game is offensive tackle Doug Free. He has missed four straight games with an ankle injury, and if he misses the game, Jeremy Parnell will replace him in the lineup.
Green Bay Packers
The biggest name on the Green Bay Packers’ injury list is easily quarterback Aaron Rodgers. One of the biggest areas of controversy at the end of the NFL season was when Rodgers was playing with a calf injury and Ndamukong Suh stepped directly onto his leg, causing Rodgers even more pain. Suh was suspended for the wild card game, but had the punishment lifted and was allowed to play anyway. The Lions lost, so a rematch with Rodgers and the Packers won’t happen this year.
However, despite the week off thanks to the bye week, Rodgers heads into the NFC divisional playoffs against the Cowboys injured. He is listed as probable and he will play in the game. However, the injury is a slight calf tear and it is significantly strained. This is something that will affect his mobility and how he throws the ball. One or two hits from the Cowboys’ pass rushers, and this is something that could be a game changer.READ MORE: Taste Of The Town: Ball And Chain Serving Up Cuban Classics With A Side OF Salsa Music For 8 Decades
Outside of Aaron Rodgers, the Packers head into the matchup with the Cowboys relatively healthy. Only backup strong safety Sean Richardson is considered questionable
- Bruce Carter, OLB – Knee
- James Hanna, TE – Knee
- Zack Martin, G – Ankle
- DeMarco Murray, RB – Hand
- Tony Romo, QB – Back
- Nick Hayden, DT – Shoulder
- Jeff Heath, SS – Thumb
- Anthony Hitchens, OLB – Ankle
- Rolando McClain, MLB – Knee/Concussion
- Terrell McClain, DT – Ankle
- Jeremy Mincey, DE – Concussion
- Doug Free, T – Ankle
Green Bay Packers
- Josh Boyd, DT – Knee
- Davon House, CB – Shoulder
- Aaron Rodgers, QB – Calf
- Josh Sitton, G – Toe
- Sean Richardson, S – Knee
For more Cowboys news and updates, visit Cowboys Central.MORE NEWS: Police Will Be Out In Force In Miami Beach To Ensure A Safe Memorial Day Holiday
Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos. aExaminer.com.