Is Amari Cooper playing on Thursday Night Football? The Dallas Cowboys receiver’s bout with COVID-19 threatens to sideline him for a third straight game. Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said Tuesday that while Cooper is back at The Star, he’s “still not feeling the best” and could miss Thursday’s game against the New Orleans Saints with a lingering cough.
“My gut would be if he doesn’t practice [Wednesday], I don’t see him going to the game,” McCarthy told reporters.
UPDATE: ESPN reported Wednesday that Cooper is expected to travel with the team and play against the Saints Thursday. According to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News, Amari Cooper mostly watched during 7-on-7 warmups and didn’t take a single rep in 11-on-11 drills before the game.
Amari Cooper COVID-19 update
Having Cooper back would be a big lift for a Cowboys team that hasn’t won since Cooper got sick nearly two weeks ago. Dallas has scored 42 points in his absence, far below their season average. The Cowboys expect WR CeeDee Lamb to return from the concussion that kept him out of the Raiders game on Thanksgiving.
Cooper and McCarthy have both tested positive for the coronavirus in recent weeks. They are part of a larger outbreak that has swept through the organization. McCarthy and at least three assistants — offensive line coach Joe Philbin, assistant coach Jeff Blasko, and offensive coaching assistant Scott Tolzien — will be unavailable for the Saints game. Starting tackle Terence Steele is also sick and won’t play against New Orleans.
Dan Quinn will coach the Cowboys with McCarthy — who, in an ironic twist, was set to get the booster on Friday — unavailable. “I think it’s important to realize that Dan Quinn has had years of working with what he’s going to be doing Thursday,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on 105.3 The Fan Tuesday. “He’s had years of on-the-field experience in the current environment. … We’re so fortunate to have him.”
Jones went on to suggest that the Cowboys should be out of this medical morass soon, as everyone on the team has now either been vaccinated or recently tested positive.
Cooper’s Week 13 outlook
Assuming Cooper (44-583-5 on the season) is able to play, his conditioning will not be where it should be. So it would be foolish to expect him to play 50+ snaps, as he’s done in all but two of the games in which he has appeared this season.
Michael Gallup, Noah Brown, and Cedrick Wilson logged 71, 69, and 54 snaps respectively in Dallas’ Week 12 loss to the Raiders.