Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware has battled elbow, shoulder and hamstring problems this season, and on Sunday, he missed the entire fourth quarter of the Saints game and most of overtime because he aggravated a strained right shoulder.
In effect, as Dallas enters Week 17, Ware (who's still managed 11.5 sacks and five forced fumbles this season) is a beat-up linebacker.
"Divisional championship game, Sunday night," Ware said, via ESPN Dallas. "Should I keep going?"
We'll assume that his question was rhetorical and that yes, he will keep going and play. For one, he had an MRI on Monday that apparently showed the team that he's OK. For two, Ware has never missed a game in his eight-year career. For three, the Cowboys season is riding on this meeting with the Redskins.
"Somehow, someway, DeMarcus is going to get himself right to play in this Washington game," coach Jason Garrett said.
As the Dallas Morning News points out, the Cowboys, in recent weeks, have limited Ware's reps in practices to help save his body from more pounding. In some cases, Ware hasn't practiced at all.
Ware likely should expect more of the same treatment this week. Limited practices with the chance to play Sunday. Because, as Garrett knows, Dallas needs him.
“He hasn't had the gaudy numbers that he's had in the past in terms of sacks but he's such a productive player for us and a lot of that goes to his ability but much more of it goes to his will and his passion for playing, his passion for his teammates and his love for the game and he'll battle through anything,” Garrett said.
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