What was a difficult task to begin with has now become even more challenging for the Dallas Cowboys, who will be forced to face the Pittsburgh Steelers without rookie first round cornerback Morris Claiborne, who has still not passed his concussion tests that would allow him to play on Sunday.
As of late Saturday, Claiborne could not complete the necessary tests to take the field against the Steelers. While there is a slim chance that could change on Sunday morning, with the way players are now handled following a concussion, it is all but certain that Claiborne will not suit up for Dallas in a crucial game for both teams.
The Cowboys and Steelers are both 7-6 and fighting for their collective playoff lives. One loss today could all but eliminate the chances of either tea, especially depending on what else happens with the other teams in contention for the postseason. The Cowboys are battling it out in the NFC East and would have an uphill battle with a loss, while the Steelers were already hurt when the Cincinnati Bengals won on Thursday night, as they all battle it out in the AFC North.
Speaking of the Bengals, it was during that game last Sunday where Claiborne suffered his concussion, but it was not after a hit from any player wearing orange and black. It was teammate Danny McCray who collided with Claiborne that caused the concussion as well as 10 stitches to Claiborne’s mouth.
Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan knows how important Claiborne is to the team’s defensive scheme, but also knows that even though the Cowboys are in the thick of the playoff chase, his team will not do anything to jeopardize any of its players’ health going forward.
“I know he’s doing everything he can,” Ryan said Friday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. “He’s got to pass these [concussion] tests. That’s the one thing about it. You have to follow protocol and no one can rush it no matter who you are. I think it’s great for the players’ safety. You have to make sure when they do come back they are ready with no trouble coming back. When Mo comes back he’ll be ready to go, but until then we’ll just move forward.”