Amari Cooper’s secret is out.
The Dallas Cowboys hid what was plaguing the Pro Bowl wide receiver until they couldn’t anymore. Cooper was listed with a hamstring injury on the team’s Week 1 practice report, released Wednesday.
Cooper was considered a full participant despite being stationed on the resistance cords, working alongside the training staff, during the portion of practice open to the media.
Amari Cooper working on the resistance cords before practice started today. He did take part in individual drills pic.twitter.com/8iuxaM4S8u
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) September 9, 2020
This has been a common occurrence for Cooper dating back to Dallas’ final five practices of training camp. He was a non-participant or, at best, limited to similar auxiliary exercises, forced to watch his teammates from afar. And the team was cryptically tight-lipped as to why.
“It’s training camp—everyone has something,” head coach Mike McCarthy said on Sept. 2, per USA Today.
After Cooper was mothballed for the last camp session, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones, pressed amid a radio interview, Jones expressed no concern over the $100 million receiver’s short- or long-term health.
“We have some of the most sophisticated health measuring systems in place,” he said, via the team’s official website. “And, so, some of them are as sophisticated as they can tell you how you’re literally, in layman’s terms, how your muscles are firing.”
Jones added: “If you’ve got a player that maybe has been tearing their — just been tearing it up and has been performing at an extraordinary level for him or his measureables in the background, you pull him back some because those are times you could be vulnerable to a pull. That’s come into play.”
— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) September 9, 2020
While no one needs to press the panic button yet, Cooper’s ailment is worth monitoring since he gutted through a slew of lower-leg/foot issues in 2019, when he led the club with 1,189 yards and eight touchdowns on 79 catches. Hamstrings are notoriously tricky to rehab due to a high aggravation rate, particularly for a player who relies on his expert route-running.
Unless he suffers a setback, however, Cooper should be in no danger of missing the season-opener at Los Angeles. He’ll play even if he draws a questionable designation, starting alongside Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb.
The Cowboys will update Cooper’s status following the conclusion of Thursday’s practice.
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Chido, Woods Trending Up; Lewis Down
It appears a pair of key Cowboys defensive backs — cornerback Chidobe Awuzie and safety Xavier Woods — are on track to go against the Rams. Awuzie is battling knee soreness while Woods tweaked his groin during an intrasquad scrimmage last month.
“They’ve had a good weekend of rehab,” McCarthy said, via the team’s official website. “I know strength and conditioning (staff) and the trainers feel good, so we’ll watch their workload today and obviously evaluate them again in the morning.”
Trending down is starting nickelback Jourdan Lewis, whose ankle injury held him out of Wednesday’s practice. Dallas VP Stephen Jones revealed Monday that Lewis would be a game-time decision; he’s likely to draw a questionable tag, at best.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL