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‘Healthy’ Giants Ready To Take On Division-Rival Cowboys

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By Curt Macysyn

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 17: Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants in action against the Green Bay Packers during their game at MetLife Stadium on November 17, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

(Credit, Al Bello/Getty Images)

It certainly is no coincidence that the New York Football Giants have seen a reduction in their injury report as the team has reeled off four straight wins. Going back to pre-season, it seemed that each week the Giants added a new name to the report, as well as losing several key performers for the season. But Big Blue has effectively replaced injured starters like Stevie Brown, David Wilson, David Baas and Chris Snee on the road to a now respectable 4-6 record.

The next hill for the G-men to climb comes in the form of their NFC east rival, the Dallas Cowboys, who let their hold of the division slip away in the past two weeks. The Cowboys return to action this week after taking time off for their bye, but the team will be missing a couple of key performers as they look to knock the Giants out of the playoff picture on Sunday. Neither team should use injuries as an excuse in this critical match-up, however.

New York Giants

As the wins pile up, the injury report gets shorter for the New York Giants, and unlike previous weeks, this week all the players who show up on the report have practiced with the team. Holdovers on the report include Terrell Thomas (knee), Corey Webster (groin/ankle), Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder), Trumaine McBride (hip) and Brandon Jacobs (knee). With the exception of Webster, all of these players suited up last week against the Green Bay Packers, and barring any unforeseen circumstances, each of these players is likely to play against Dallas.

Cornerback Terrell Thomas is a weekly standard on the injury report, as the Giants have given him a maintenance day each week to rest his thrice-injured knee. Pierre-Paul injured his right shoulder against the Oakland Raiders, and not only played on Sunday, but came up with a critical pick six against the Packers. Expect both players, who incidentally have been recipients of the NFC defensive player of the week, to be in the starting line-up on Sunday.

Brandon Jacobs injured a hamstring against the Chicago Bears and missed the next two games. He has shown up with a knee injury and speculation is that Jacobs compensated for the hamstring problem and caused a knee issue. The bruising halfback had two key fourth down carries and a touchdown plunge against the Packers, and he is expected to suit up against Dallas. Same goes for cornerback Trumaine McBride, who is nursing a hip injury from practice two weeks ago.

Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks shows up this week on the injury report with a abdominal injury. The soon-to-be free agent receiver did not practice on Wednesday, and instead was sent by his agent to see a doctor about the injury. Nick was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday, and he will most likely play on Sunday.

Fullback John Conner has a hip flexor injury and was held out of practice on Wednesday. Conner, who has been a key component in the rushing attack lately, did practice on a limited basis on Thursday and Friday.

Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys will be without two starting linebackers and a top reserve linebacker on Sunday. Both Sean Lee and Justin Durant are nursing hamstring injuries and neither has been able to practice this week. Veteran linebacker Ernie Sims takes Lee’s place in the line-up, but replacing Lee from a statistical standpoint will be incredibly difficult for anyone. Lee leads the Cowboys with 93 tackles and four interceptions. He was injured in the 49-17 rout at the hands of the New Orleans Saints two weeks ago. In addition, Sims has always been an outside linebacker, and it becomes easy to see that Lee’s absence may be potentially devastating for the Cowboys.

Justin Durant also injured himself against the Saints and will miss Sunday’s game. His spot in the starting line-up was to be taken by DeVonte Holloman, who was returning from a neck injury himself. Holloman practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday, but appears to have suffered a setback and was ruled out of Sunday’s contest. The team brought back linebacker Orie Lemon from the Arizona Cardinals practice squad, who may be thrust into action immediately against the Giants. In addition, Kyle Bosworth, who was cut by New York at the end of training camp, may also see time at linebacker.

Both cornerback Morris Claiborne and wide receiver Miles Austin will most likely return to action this week after missing several games. Claiborne injured a hamstring and was inactive for two contests, while Austin, from nearby Monmouth University, missed the Cowboys’ last three games. No one doubts that Dez Bryant will play despite showing up on the injury report with a back problem.

Team sack leader Jason Hatcher (7.0 QB sacks) has a neck injury but shows up as probable on the injury report, as does defensive end George Selvie (shoulder). Giant-killer DeMarcus Ware shows up on the injury report with a thigh injury, but his presence on the field for this critical match-up is all but assured.

New York Giants

Probable:

  • CB Terrell Thomas (Knee)
  • DE Jason Pierre-Paul (Shoulder)
  • CB Trumaine McBride (Hip)
  • FB John Conner (Hip)

Questionable:

  • WR Hakeen Nicks (Abdomen)
  • RB Brandon Jacobs (Knee)

Out:

  • CB Corey Webster (Groin)

Dallas Cowboys

Probable:

  • CB Morris Claiborne (Hamstring)
  • WR Miles Austin (Hamstring)
  • WR Dez Bryant (Back)
  • DE George Selvie (Shoulder)
  • DE DeMarcus Ware (Thigh)
  • DT Nick Hayden (Ribs)
  • DT Jason Hatcher (Neck)
  • S J.J. Wilcox (Knee)

Out:

  • LB Sean Lee (Hamstring)
  • LB Justin Durant (Hamstring)
  • LB DeVonte Holloman (Neck)

For more Giants news and updates, visit Giants Central.

Curt Macysyn has been covering the New York Football Giants for the past two seasons for Examiner.com. Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Curt has followed and covered the New York Metropolitan sports scene for 35 years. He attended Seton Hall Prep School in South Orange, NJ and is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick. His work can be found on Examiner.com.