49ers vs. Cowboys: Dallas Rules out Key LB Keanu Neal

Jerry Jones


Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

The Dallas Cowboys will be without linebacker Keanu Neal when they take on the San Francisco 49ers in the postseason. Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken reported the Cowboys have ruled out Neal for the Wild Card round as he continues to deal with chest and elbow injuries.

“Cowboys LB Keanu Neal (chest/elbow) has been ruled out for Sunday’s playoff game vs. 49ers. Everyone else on 53-man roster carries no game-status designation,” Gehlken tweeted on January 14.

Neal has been a key part of the Cowboys’ transformation on defense. The linebacker notched 72 tackles, four tackles for loss, two quarterback hits and a sack in his 14 appearances this season, including five starts. Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy admitted that Neal was “struggling” heading into the team’s matchup against the Niners.

“Yeah, we’ll probably take that one all the way down to the wire,” McCarthy explained during his January 14 press conference. “So, he’s obviously struggling coming off the Philadelphia game. So, obviously the physical part of it is not of high demand today. So, based on how he goes tomorrow will probably be a pretty clear indicator on his availability for Sunday.”

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McCarthy on Pollard: ‘Tony Looks Like He’s Back to 100%’

Despite Neal’s absence, there is plenty of good news for the Cowboys heading into their first postseason game. Tony Pollard was sidelined for the Eagles matchup, but McCarthy noted that the playmaker “looks like he’s back to 100%.”

“Tony looks great, I think that definitely the time off helped him, too,” McCarthy said. “So, I mean he was able to practice all through the week last week leading up to Philadelphia. So, really the Sunday, Monday, Tuesday time, it was very beneficial for him. So yeah, Tony looks like he’s back to 100%.”

All indications are the Cowboys will have a healthy backfield going into the playoffs. Ezekiel Elliott expressed optimism about his health but admitted he will still be wearing a knee brace to keep things consistent.

“Yeah, I feel good, I feel really good, knee feels solid,” Elliott told reporters on January 13. “You know, not really getting any stiffness out of it anymore. Just kind of wearing a brace just as a [precaution]. I mean, it’s worked up until this point, and I felt good in it up until this point. So, I’m not gonna switch it up going into this game or hopefully the rest of the

“And yeah, I feel good about where we’re at in the run game. We just gotta take that momentum from last week and carry it over this week. It’s gonna be important.”

Parsons & Kearse Were Activated From the COVID List

The Cowboys are also getting multiple starters back off the COVID list including star linebacker Micah Parsons and safety Jayron Kearse. McCarthy detailed what Parsons brings to the field against a physical 49ers team.

“Micah is [an] extremely physical football player,” McCarthy explained during his January 12 media session. “It’ll be great to get him back out there. I’m hoping the time away has served him well.

“But yeah, his physicality to play both on the line and off the line and particularly as a pressure player, too is definitely something we feel can be impactful Sunday.”

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