The Dallas Cowboys defense took a significant injury hit ahead of this weekend’s matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.
On Friday, linebacker Keanu Neal was ruled out of the game with chest/elbow injuries that had him limited on Wednesday and out of practice yesterday and today. Rookie safety Israel Mukuama was also ruled out after he was placed on the injured reserve with a hamstring issue.
The Cowboys have ruled out LB Keanu Neal (biceps) and have placed a Israel Mukuamu (hamstring) on injured reserve.
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) January 14, 2022
Through 14 games and five starts this season, Neal logged 72 tackles, 1.0 sacks and four tackles for loss.
While the Cowboys are certainly slim at the linebacker position, some Dallas fans are excited about opportunities for players further back on the depth chart — particularly third-year LB Luke Gifford.
“I am excited for Luke Gifford getting some snaps…” one fan wrote.
“That’s fine. Let 57 get more snaps in at LB,” another added.
He wasn’t that great but our depth at LB is bad https://t.co/HpwvDaIfRT
— Raymond (@collazo530king) January 14, 2022
With Neal out, even more pressure will be placed on defensive player of the year candidate Micah Parsons at the linebacker position.
Other than Neal and Mukuama, every player on the Dallas roster fully participated in today’s practice. Running back Tony Pollard (foot) and left tackle Tyron Smith (knee/ankle) are both good to go this weekend.
The Cowboys will take on the 49ers in a Wild Card matchup on Sunday afternoon.