The Dallas Cowboys are headed to Charlotte, NC today to kick off their 2018 season against the Carolina Panthers. Unfortunately, both teams have some key players on their injury report going into this game.
Given that it’s just Week 1, it’s hard to say how much some of these injuries will impact either team. We may not yet realize how good, or bad, some of the depth options are.
But guys like Travis Frederick and Greg Olsen aren’t replaced easily, so clearly there will be some adverse effect from their absences. Let’s take a closer look at these and other injuries.
- C Travis Frederick – OUT (illness)
- DE Datone Jones – OUT (knee)
- S Xavier Woods – OUT (hamstring)
- S Kavon Frazier – Questionable (shoulder)
- CB Chidobe Awuzie – Questionable (back)
The big name here is the All-Pro center Frederick, who is out for an undetermined period of time with a neurological issue. Joe Looney will start during Travis’ absence, and Dallas signed veteran Adam Redmond off waivers to be the backup center. Missing Frederick hurts against the Panthers, given they have Kawann Short and Dontari Poe at defensive tackle.
At safety, Xavier Woods was expected to miss the first few weeks with his preseason hamstring injury. Thankfully, though, it appears Kavon Frazier will be okay after being a full participant in Friday’s practice. He will start alongside Jeff Heath in the defensive backfield.
Also on the report but seemingly okay to play is starting CB Chidobe Awuzie. A back injury limited him in practice this week, but the second-year stud also participated fully on Friday and should be good to go.
Dallas had planned to put Datone Jones on injured reserve this week but changed their minds. They will carry him on the roster for now, hoping he can return sooner than the eight-week option to recall a player from IR.
- WR Curtis Samuel – OUT (illness)
- TE Greg Olsen – Questionable (back)
- TE Chris Manhertz – Questionable (foot)
- G Amini Silatolu – Questionable (knee)
- T Daryl Williams – Questionable (knee)
One of the best tight ends in football for many years, Olsen was a late addition to the injury report with a back issue. His status for today’s game is unknown, and it would be a huge loss for the Panthers to lose Cam Newton’s favorite target.
To make matters worse, backup TE Chris Manhertz has been limited all week with a foot injury. If neither Olsen or Manhertz can go, that would leave fourth-round rookie Ian Thomas as the only other TE on the roster.
Carolina is also banged up on the offensive line. Starting tackle Matt Kalil is already on injured reserve, and now Silatolu and Williams, the starting left guard and right tackle, are also questionable with knee issues. This is bad news for the Panthers against an emerging Cowboys defensive line.
Lastly, Cutis Samuel is out after a minor procedure for a heart condition. A second-round pick last year, Samuel has yet to establish himself in the offense but would obviously be a guy the Panthers want to utilize given where he was drafted.