The Dallas Cowboys put several players on injured reserve to start the season, hoping to take advantage of the new rules that allow for an unlimited number to be recalled to the active roster. But after serving the three-week minimum on IR, none of these players appear to returning for this week's game against the Carolina Panthers.
To be eligible to return, a player had to be carried on the 53-man roster at final cuts and then placed on IR shortly after. The Cowboys most notably did this with CB Kelvin Joseph and DT Neville Gallimore, but the list included WR Malik Turner, TE Sean McKeon, OT Josh Ball, and LB Francis Bernard.
Some players like RB Rico Dowdle, FB Sewo Olonilua, and CB Reggie Robinson were put on IR during the preseason and thus aren't eligible to return in 2021. The two biggest names current on IR, WR Michael Gallup and DE DeMarcus Lawrence, didn't go on until Week 2 and are expected to miss more than just the required games.
Kelvin Joseph (groin) is probably still a few weeks away from returning off IR, Mike McCarthy said. But he's making progress. So are Neville Gallimore (elbow) and Sean McKeon (ankle). All three eligible to return this week but doesn't sound like that's the case yet.
— Rob Phillips (@robphillips3) September 28, 2021
Dallas has managed to win its last two games even with so many missing players. But despite this recent success, getting Joseph and Gallimore back on defense would be wins as the Cowboys need to bolster the rotations and see what these young guys can contribute.
Gallimore should be especially anxious to return as rookie Osa Odighizuwa is starting to make a case to remain with the first team. He's been Dallas' best DT so far this season and more impactful early than Neville was as a rookie in 2020.
Joseph's situation is a bit better; none of Anthony Brown, Maurice Canady, or Jourdan Lewis have done enough to keep the 2nd-rounder buried on the bench. Once he's healthy, Kelvin should get plenty of opportunities to show his stuff.
As the season goes on the Cowboys will need all the help they get. With injuries prevalent throughout the league and COVID issues still a major concern, it's getting hard to predict who will be available from week to week.
Hopefully all of these injured players are making good recoveries and will be able to contribute in the near future.