By Shawn Lealos

The Dallas Cowboys really needed the bye week when it came. Tony Romo had missed a game and then played with a banged up back in the last game before the bye. In that game, Romo, DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant all got banged up while Rolando McClain was available to play but sat out for precautionary reasons. Now, with the bye out of the way, Dallas is healthier than they have been in weeks and are ready for a brutal second half to the 2014 NFL season.

Here is a look at the Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants injury report for their upcoming game.

Dallas Cowboys

The biggest area of concern for these Dallas Cowboys is the health and well-being of quarterback Tony Romo. While DeMarco Murray’s running game is the reason that Dallas is as improved this season as they are, without Romo that running game is not as big of a factor. The one game without Romo was proof of how tough things can be with Romo on the sidelines instead of in the game.

That makes the bye week such a big deal for the Dallas Cowboys and Tony Romo. He played against Jacksonville the weekend before the bye and played well in the Cowboys win. Now, he plays two games in five days, so this first game is very important for Romo to get in and out of in one piece. He practiced his normal days this week and looks like he will be as good as expected against New York.

Also in the good news category, Rolando McClain will be back this week. McClain was active against the Jaguars before the bye, but Dallas wanted him to rest for two more weeks so they only planned to use him if necessary. He was never needed in the win, so he got the extra rest. With the bye week, he is now ready to hit the field full speed.

Other formerly injured Cowboys were back in full at practice as well, including Josh Brent (groin), Tyrone Crawford (knee), Doug Free (foot), and Nick Hayden (shoulder). The only key player who will miss the game is cornerback Tyler Patmon (knee), who has put in a lot of work ever since Morris Claiborne’s season ended.

New York Giants

The biggest loss for the New York Giants this week is offensive tackle Justin Pugh, and that is bad news for quarterback Eli Manning. One of the Giants biggest problems this season has been giving Manning enough time to throw the ball. He isn’t playing well in the new offensive scheme and a lot of the reason is that he is running for his life. Pugh, who started 26 straight games, will be a huge blow against a Cowboys pass rush that is showing signs of life thanks to Henry Melton.

On defense, the Giants will also be without two of their key weapons in defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins (calf) and linebacker Jacquian Williams (concussion). Luckily, New York will get defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka back for this game after a knee injury

Geoff Schwartz was signed by the Giants to play left guard, but there is a good chance that he will be who starts in place of Pugh on the offensive line. Schwartz missed the first 10 games this season with a toe injury, but is coming back just in time to play as a replacement for Pugh. If he isn’t ready for the load, Charles Brown and James Brewer could start in Pugh’s place.

Dallas Cowboys

  • Tyrone Crawford (DE), Knee – Probable
  • Nike Hayden (DT), Shoulder – Probable
  • Rolando McClain (LB), Knee – Probable
  • Tyler Patmon (CB), Knee, Ankle – Questionable
  • Tony Romo (QB), Back – Probable
  • Chris Whaley (DL), Knee – Out

New York Giants

  • Cullen Jenkins (DT), Calf – Out
  • Mathias Kiwanuka (DE), Knee – Questionable
  • Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (CB), Back, Hamstring – Probable
  • Jacquian Williams (LB), Concussion – Out
  • Justin Pugh (OT), Quads – Out

For more Cowboys news and updates, visit Cowboys Central.

Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos. aExaminer.com.

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