Marion Barber, Dez Bryant hurting
Barber, who strained his left calf during last week's loss to the Saints, hasn't practiced this week. Interim coach Jason Garrett indicated that Barber needs to at least practice Friday to play Sunday.
"You want to see something from all your players," Garrett said when asked if practice was required for Barber to play. "He knows what we're doing in the run game and he knows what they're doing defensively, but you need reps. You need snaps. You need to get yourself physically and emotionally ready to play, and practice goes a long way toward doing that."
The Cowboys' injury report Thursday included a surprise.
Receiver Dez Bryant was added with a back injury. He was listed as having limited participation in the practice.
This injury occured when Bryant took a hit during Wednesday's practice, but Bryant didn't mention it while talking to reporters after that workout.
Bryant has dealt with a variety of injuries during his rookie season, beginning with a high ankle sprain that sidelined him for most of training camp and all of preseason. He re-injured that ankle, the cartilage in his ribs and bruised his tailbone throughout the course of the season, causing him to miss several practices.
Missing practice reps is particularly concerning for a rookie receiver who is learning on the fly. However, Bryant has yet to miss any regular-season games.
Inside linebackers Keith Brooking (foot) and Bradie James (knee) dressed for practice Thursday after sitting out the previous two days. Brooking, however, was listed on the official injury report as not participating.
"We're pointing towards both of those guys playing their typical roles," Garrett said.
Rookie cornerback/kick returner Bryan McCann injured an ankle during the early portion of Thursday's practice. However, Garrett said McCann moved well later in the practice and that the rookie's health wasn't a concern. McCann said he expects to be able to practice without limitations Friday.
Tim MacMahon is a reporter and columnist for ESPNDallas.com.