|Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee has a sprained toe that may keep him out for two weeks." (US Presswire)|
The Cowboys are fortunate to be at 3-3 this week after a close win at Carolina, but obviously the competition is about to get much tougher than the 1-5 Panthers.
It starts with the defending champion Giants, who aren't just leading the division at 5-2 but wouldn't mind a little payback against the Cowboys, who beat them to start the season.
After the Giants game, the Cowboys travel to Atlanta and Philly.
But the bigger question than if the Cowboys are ready to turn the proverbial corner is, just how healthy will this team be?
It starts right down the middle -- with LB Sean Lee battling a sprained toe that could be problematic. Coach Jason Garrett said MRI results weren't available late Monday afternoon, but rumblings around Valley Ranch are saying it could be at least a two-week injury if not longer.
For C Phil Costa, it initially appeared his dislocated ankle would be season-ending. Instead, it might just be a few weeks after MRI results revealed some torn ligaments.
Either way, the Cowboys will certainly miss Costa, who had the best game of his career against the Ravens on Oct. 14 when Dallas rushed for 227 yards. He's been snake-bitten this year with a nagging back injury that sidelined him for most of training camp, then nearly four full games to start the season. And now the ankle injury occurred early in the Panthers game. It means the Cowboys will again turn to veteran Ryan Cook, who has been a valuable addition.
On defense, if Lee is out, the Cowboys will likely go with Dan Connor, a former Panthers linebacker who has been a defensive backup and special teams contributor this year. Connor, a college teammate of Lee at Penn State, signed with the Cowboys in free agency after four seasons in Carolina.