Ware could play vs. Saints, Phillips says

Updated: December 15, 2009, 10:01 AM ET
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas -- After being carted off the field and taken to the hospital with a strained neck, outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware could play Saturday against the New Orleans Saints, coach Wade Phillips said Monday.

Ware suffered a strained neck during the fourth quarter of the Cowboys' loss Sunday to the San Diego Chargers. Rushing full speed in an attempt to sack Philip Rivers, Ware lost his balance and the crown of his helmet collided with Chargers offensive tackle Brandyn Dombrowski's hip.

Ware was strapped to a gurney and taken by ambulance to a local hospital. He had full feeling and movement in all of his extremities, waving and making other hand gestures as he was carted off the field.

After Ware was released from the hospital Sunday night, two sources told ESPNDallas.com that he was likely to miss two weeks. He spent Sunday night at home icing his neck, which was sore and swollen. One of those sources said Monday that it's still likely that Ware will miss at least one game.

"He's actually a lot better today," Phillips said. "He's really in a day-to-day situation as far as where he's going to be as far as being able to play. He took quite a hit, but he's really bounced back really strong. That's encouraging for him and us."

Ware hasn't missed a game since the Cowboys selected him in the first round of the 2005 draft. He has played almost every snap this season despite a stress fracture in his foot diagnosed in October and a chip fracture in his wrist sustained this month.

In other injury news, tight end Martellus Bennett will miss his second consecutive game with concussion-like symptoms. Phillips said Bennett might practice this week, but he has to sit out Saturday's game because his symptoms had not cleared a week in advance, according to the NFL's new rules regarding concussions.

Backup safety Pat Watkins, one of the Cowboys' top special-teams players, is out two to four weeks with a sprained posterior cruciate ligament in his knee.

Free safety Ken Hamlin, who has missed the last four games with a high ankle sprain, might be able to return this week.

The Cowboys are 8-5 and have dropped a game behind Philadelphia in the NFC East.

Tim MacMahon covers the Cowboys for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.

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