Recently, there has been a lot of attention focused on how healthy the Eagles roster is at this point of the season. On Thursday's injury report, Colt Anderson (knee), Julian Vandervelde (back) and Evan Mathis (illness) were the only players who did not participate in the team's practice. Safety Earl Wolff was listed as a full participant in practice for the second straight day, as was fellow safety Kurt Coleman.
The same cannot be said for the Eagles' upcoming opponent. The Dallas Cowboys have a number of question marks as far as health is concerned, but none greater than that of their starting quarterback Tony Romo, who tweaked his back in the Cowboys' 24-23 win over Washington last Sunday. According to Dallas head coach Jason Garrett, Romo has neither practiced nor appeared at any team meetings this week. As of now, the team's top priority is getting him healthy.
"The biggest thing is to get him healthy," Garrett said on his conference call with Philadelphia reporters Thursday. "That's line one. He's been around our facility like a lot of injured players. They spend their time getting the treatment and they try to learn the football as they go, but sometimes it's not as important for them to be in the meetings as it is for them to do everything that they can to get healthy and get ready for the next game, and then you pick up everything as best you can as the week goes on."
In a game that has so much on the line, it's natural that Romo will do everything that he can to take the field on Sunday night. What Romo says to the Cowboys medical personnel will influence whether or not he plays on Sunday night, but Garrett explained that the team must make sure that Romo isn't putting his own health in jeopardy.
"We would never compromise any player's health, for the short term or the long term," said Garrett. "That's line one in all of these evaluations, but having said that, you just have to make your best judgments. The players typically want to play and will do anything to get out there. We have to take all of the factors into consideration and make our best decision. His input certainly has a big part in this - how he's feeling and what he wants to do - but there's also medical analysis that goes on. Collectively, we'll put all of those factors together and try to make the best decision for him and for our team."
As for wide receiver Dez Bryant, the Cowboys biggest playmaker did not practice on Thursday after being limited in Wednesday's practice with a back issue. After Thursday's practice, Bryant told reporters that there is "no doubt" that he'll play against the Eagles, and according to Garrett, playing injured is not necessarily a new experience for No. 88.
"He's been dealing with a few different things over the course of the season, so this isn't necessarily completely new for him," Garrett said. "We're hopeful that he feels better tomorrow and can practice more and can play in this ball game. He certainly is an important player for us."
On the other side of the football, standout linebacker Sean Lee has missed the past two days of practice while recovering from a neck injury. Like Romo and Bryant, Lee's injury is being evaluated on a day-by-day basis.
"He hasn't participated the last couple of days and he's one of the best leaders that we have on our football team and certainly one of our best players," said Garrett. "He's been dealing with a neck (injury) for the last three weeks, and again, our first concern is the player's health and making sure he's healthy and ready to go … Hopefully, we can get him back. He'll make some progress over the next few days and we'll see what his availability is."