Cowboys’ McCarthy on Gregory’s injury: ‘He’ll attack the rehab;’ Cedrick Wilson also to miss practice

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The list of Cowboys players unable to participate in practice keeps growing with just 72 hours to go before the Falcons come to town for a Week 10 matchup.

Obviously, the biggest bombshell dropped during head coach Mike McCarthy’s Thursday morning press conference was the calf injury that will sideline defensive end Randy Gregory for “multiple weeks.” The injury- deemed a calf strain after an MRI late Wednesday- occurred during the one-on-one portion of that day’s session, despite the veteran already taking a lightened number of reps.

Gregory had been thrust into a brighter spotlight along the Dallas defensive front, thanks to the foot injury that has kept edge rusher DeMarcus Lawrence off the field for all but the season opener. Gregory has responded and is currently the team leader in pressures, QB hits, and hurries. He’s also tied for the team lead in sacks.

“Clearly one of our best players on defense,” McCarthy raved. “Very disruptive. Our team and our defensive players feed off of his activity. He’s having a heck of a year, but he was back in here this morning . He’ll attack the rehab just like he has attacked everything else.”

While the team has not placed Gregory on injured reserve, McCarthy confirmed for reporters that it remains a possibility. In the meantime, it’s next man up for end Dorance Armstong, himself recently returned to active duty after an ankle injury.

“Dorance is back, so [his participation] will increase,” McCarthy noted. “How we rotate the third and fourth spot, we’ll see how it shakes out Sunday.”

One possibility? That rookie linebacker Micah Parsons slides up to see snaps at defensive end, just as he did in Week 2, when Lawrence was first out and Gregory showed up on the Reserve/COVID list.

McCarthy responded with a sly grin when asked if that may be in the cards. “Game starts at noon Sunday. Don’t be late.”

The team also announced Thursday that wide receiver Cedrick Wilson will miss the day’s practice, marking the second day in a row he will have sat due to a shoulder injury.

Wilson has been the team’s fourth-best receiver in terms of yardage and ranked second in yards per reception. Additionally, he’s returned punts and even played a key role in the occasional gadget play, averaging 5.5 yards on two rushes and completing both of his pass attempts for 57 yards through the air. He’s proven himself to be a valuable and versatile weapon with wideout Michael Gallup rehabbing from his a calf strain he suffered in the season opener.

Gallup has been back at practice this week and is expected to make his return to action on Sunday. The Dallas coaches will be very conscious of how much playing time Gallup and Wilson both get now.

“I think Michael will hit his stride,” McCarthy said in his press conference. “You’ve just got to be smart how much you use him. We’ll see how the rotation goes: obviously, Amari [Cooper], CeeDee [Lamb], and Ced. We were obviously being smart with Cedrick yesterday. Just really, how we work out the reps will be the biggest part. I don’t envision Michael being held back any.”

Looking down the rest of the roster, offensive tackle Tyron Smith will remain a non-participant with his ankle injury, and kicker Greg Zuerlein is still in COVID protocol. Running back Corey Clement and rookie defensive tackle Quinton Bohanna will miss Thursday’s practice, both with non-COVID illnesses.

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