Marion Barber could miss time with quad injury

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that Marion Barber suffered a quad strain in the Cowboys’ 33-31 loss to the Giants on Sunday and could be held out against the Panthers, whom Dallas plays on Monday night.

An MRI taken Monday morning confirmed Barber suffered a quad strain. When asked later in the afternoon if the injury could force the running back to miss some time, head coach Wade Phillips said, “We’ll have to wait and see on that.”

How the injury responds in the next few days will determine if he’s able to play against Carolina.

This is the second year in a row where Barber has come out of the gates like a bat out of hell, only to suffer an injury to slow him down. Last season, he scored nine touchdowns in the first 13 weeks before a toe injury severely limited his production for the rest of the year.

If Barber can’t play, Felix Jones would get the start and split carries with Tashard Choice.

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Jerry Jones calls out Marion Barber

Frustrated that his team’s playoff hopes are hanging in the balance with each passing week, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones publicly called out his running back for not making the trip to Pittsburgh last Sunday.

Marion BarberAt the very least, Mr. Jones believes he’s in a position to question Marion Barber’s toughness. Barber didn’t play in Pittsburgh yesterday with calf and pinkie toe injuries, and Jones roundaboutly called him a sissy yesterday. From Star-Telegram.com:

Jones believed Barber’s dislocated right pinkie toe was an injury that he could have played with against Pittsburgh. Before the team boarded for its flight to Pittsburgh on Saturday, Jones was stunned Barber did not make the trip.

After not practicing all week and with an additional sore calf, Barber felt he couldn’t play. Jones said Barber could have taped and braced the toe well enough to allow him to play.

“He can play with that injured toe,” Jones said. “He can play with the soreness and a combination of those things. I see nothing that led us to believe he couldn’t.”

It’s Jones’ team, so he can say whatever he wants. But if he thinks that he’s going to motivate Barber into playing, this seems like the wrong way to do it. If Barber could play, don’t you think he would be out there? It’s not like this guy has a history of nagging injuries that lead to him missing games. Jones comes off like a whinny child that isn’t getting what he wants right now.

NFL Week 14 Primer

Marion BarberSunday’s Best: Cowboys (8-4) at Steelers (9-3), 4:15 PM ET FOX
The Cowboys are fighting for their playoff lives while the Steelers are trying to stay ahead of the surprising Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North. Dallas could be without running back Marion Barber (toe injury), which would be a massive blow going against the best defenses in the league. If the ‘Boys can’t run the ball, expect Dick Lebeau to dial up plenty of blitzes to force quarterback Tony Romo into mistakes. This essentially is a must-win for the Cowboys, who would be left on the outside looking in if the playoffs started today. A loss coupled with a Falcons win over the Saints and the Cowboys would need some help the rest of the way, with a remaining schedule that looks like this: vs. Giants, vs. Ravens, at Eagles. The Steelers, meanwhile, should be at full strength as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and running back Willie Parker are expected to play. We’ll see what the Cowboys are made of come 4:00 o’clock on Sunday. Steelers are a currently a 3-point favorite.

Upset Watch: Texans (5-7) at Packers (5-7), 1:00 PM ET CBS
Houston welcomes back quarterback Matt Schaub this week but he’s not the reason they could pull off a decent-sized upset in Week 14. Rookie running back Steve Slaton is. Slaton is coming off a 130-yard effort against the Jaguars on Monday night and racked up 156 yards three weeks ago against the Colts. Considering the Packers are allowing a whopping 141.2 yards a game on the ground this year, Slaton could be set up for another huge day. The Texans will need to find a way to get pressure on Aaron Rodgers, however, or else it’s going to be tough to win at Lambeau. The Texans’ pass defense is improving, but Rodgers and company are averaging 228.9 passing yards a game and could find success against a young Houston secondary. If the Texans don’t win outright, I say they cover the 6-point spread.

Gus FrerotteIntriguing Matchup: Vikings (7-5) at Lions (0-12), 1:00 PM ET FOX
There’s nothing intriguing about the winless Detroit Lions, but what is interesting is whether or not Kevin and Pat Williams will play for the Vikings. Minnesota needs a victory to stay at least one-game ahead of the Bears and Packers in the division, but without their interior defensive line, even the Lions are capable of finding some running room. The league suspended the Williamses on Tuesday morning, but a court ruling could change all that and allow the two mammoth d-tackles to play. If they don’t, could Detroit get its first win and turn the NFC North upside down yet again? Can Gus Frerotte keep this team afloat if the defense loses two key players?

Other notable games:

Eagles (6-5-1) at Giants (11-1), 1:00 PM ET FOX
Philly will try and keep its slim playoff hopes alive, while a win would crown the G-Men as NFC East champions and get them one step closer to claiming home field advantage throughout the postseason.

Redskins (7-5) at Ravens (8-4), 8:15 PM ET FOX
This Sunday night matchup is a great one. Both teams desperately need a win to stay within reach of a playoff berth. A loss for the ‘Skins could essentially knock them out of the postseason race.

Buccaneers (9-3) at Panthers (9-3), 8:30 PM ET ESPN
Finally a great Monday Night Football matchup after weeks of utter crap. The winner takes a one-game lead in the NFC South and holds an edge for the second spot in the NFC playoff picture, while the loser gets tossed into the Wild Card mix.

Falcons (8-4) at Saints (6-6), 1:00 PM ET FOX
Atlanta has been a nice story this year, but it can’t relax now. A win would go a long way in securing a playoff spot for the Falcons, who finish with a possibly depleted Vikings and a hapless Rams team in their final two games.

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