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November 22, 2012

Injuries wrack Cowboys' defense but LB Carter says he expects to play in next game

The Dallas Cowboys’ depleted defense, which began today with three starters on the injured reserve list, lost three additional stalwarts _ including emerging star Bruce Carter _  to injury during a 38-31 loss to the Washington Redskins at Cowboys Stadium that could have long-ranging personnel repercussions.

By the end of the contest, six defensive starters were sidelined, as well as two key reserves. And the list extended to the offense, where receiver Miles Austin (strained right hip) departed in the first half and running back Felix Jones did not return after taking a big hit following a fourth-quarter touchdown.

But the biggest personnel hits came on defense, where Carter (elbow), defensive lineman Jason Hatcher (concussion) and cornerback Orlando Scandrick (fractured hand) left the contest. Nose tackle Jay Ratliff (groin) and defensive lineman Sean Lissemore (ankle) were declared inactive before the game.

Carter, the team’s inside linebacker and defensive play-caller, left with an elbow injury in the second half. An MRI is scheduled Friday and owner Jerry Jones said he was unsure about the severity of Carter’s ailment although the second-year player indicated he expects to return for the team’s next game, Dec. 2 against Philadelphia.

“I just landed on it awkwardly. It’s good,” said Carter, adding that he probably could not have returned to Thursday’s game in a pinch because of the pain. “I’ll be fine.”

Whether the same can be said of the Cowboys’ defense is unclear. Dallas (5-6) already was without three starters on injured reserve _ linebacker Sean Lee, safety Barry Church and defensive end Kenyon Coleman _ before Thursday’s latest wave of injuries to Carter, Hatcher and Scandrick.   

“Those three you can add to the list of about 100. But that’s the way it is. We lost a lot of players out there,” said defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

“And we’re losing some key guys. It’s tough,” said defensive lineman Marcus Spears. “But that’s part of this league. That’s as much a part of this league as playing the game. So you’ve got to move on and hope you can get some guys in here to help.”

Jones indicated personnel moves are forthcoming and indicated there could be a delay in the anticipated return of leading rusher DeMarco Murray, who has missed the last six games with a sprained foot.

“I don’t know that we’re going to have him (against Philadelphia),” Jones said.

_ Jimmy Burch

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