Dallas Cowboys starting linebacker DeMarcus Ware has been slowed down by a shoulder and elbow injury, and did not practice all week. Ware will be wearing a special brace on his right shoulder, which will allow him to extend his arm without having his shoulder pop out of the socket.
The brace is a new piece of equipment that Ware did not wear last week against the Saints. Ware was extremely limited in the Cowboys Week 16 loss to the New Orleans Saints, and he will also be limited against the Washington Redskins on Sunday night. Officially, Ware is listed as probable on the Cowboys injury report.
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan discussed about limiting Ware's playing time:
"We're going to have to watch how many plays we give him, pick our spots and play our other players," Ryan said Friday. "We'll do the best we can. I know DeMarcus will play his heart out when he's out there and we'll just see how much he's able to give us."
Ware is a crucial part of the Cowboys defense with 11.5 sacks this year, and there has been a noticeable difference in the Cowboys pass rush when Ware is not in the game. Last week against the Saints, Dallas had issues getting after Drew Brees, and did not record any sacks.
In the season finale, the Cowboys will be going up against one of the more mobile quarterbacks in the league in rookie Robert Griffin III. The Cowboys did get to Griffin two times when they met back on Thanksgiving.
The Cowboys need all hands on deck for this crucial Week 17 game, because if Dallas wins they are in the playoffs, and if they lose they are out. Getting Ware on the field for at least some plays is better than having him on the sidelines.