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Cowboys injury and suspension report heading into Week 5 matchup with Bengals

Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith could be argued as Dallas’ top three players, though rookie quarterback Dak Prescott is playing quite well. All three of the aforementioned players could miss this week due to injury.

NFL: Preseason-Miami Dolphins at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals’ next opponent will have several key players missing due to injury or suspension in Week 5.

While the Cowboys have shown a lot of promise over the first four weeks, they’ve been badly depleted in several areas, the most obvious being at quarterback with Tony Romo’s back injury.

Tony Romo

When Romo initially went down with a back injury in the preseason, it was thought they he could return in time to face Cincinnati in Week 5. However, that does not look likely as his recovery from a broken bone in his back will keep him sidelined for a few more weeks.

Dallas won’t rush him back though, as fourth-round rookie Dak Prescott has filled in nicely for Romo. Prescott has been very effective through the first month of the regular season, and the Bengals will have their hands full keeping Prescott contained in Dallas.

But while Prescott has looked very impressive thus far, he's the kind of quarterback who should thrive in games with limited film on him, making it hard for defenses to gameplan around him. It will be interesting to see how he does now that the Bengals and other teams have four regular-season games of him to gameplan with.

Dez Bryant

Elsewhere, Pro Bowl receiver Dez Bryant is dealing with a knee injury that sidelined him in Week 4, and probably is going to at least linger into this week, whether he plays or not.

Bryant suffered a knee injury during Dallas' Week 3 win over the Chicago Bears, which looked like nothing at the time as Bryant returned and finished that game. It was later revealed Bryant suffered a hairline fracture in his knee.

Anytime the word 'fracture' comes up it is scary, but early indications are that it will not sideline him for a significant period of time. In three games this season, Bryant has caught 11 passes for 150 yards and one score.

Bryant failed to practice last week, so expect him to be questionable for this week’s matchup. If he’s out or just getting less snaps, guys like Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley and Brice Butler are who Cincinnati will have to worry about.

Orlando Scandrick

Starting cornerback Orlando Scandrick is dealing with multiple hamstring injuries that have sidelined him for the past two games. He tore his ACL and missed all of 2015 after becoming a great corner for Dallas.

Scandrick playing—or not playing—this week will have a big impact on how well A.J. Green plays in Dallas. Without Scandrick, Dallas’ pass defense has been awful against even average passing games.

Tyron Smith

All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith is dealing with a back injury that’s caused him to miss the last two games. Smith is regarded by many as the game’s best left tackle, so him being out would be massive for the Bengals’ pass rush. Second-year tackle Chaz Green will continue to start if Smith can’t play. The Cowboys listed Smith as questionable to play in Week 4 before he was inactive.

La’el Collins

Starting offensive lineman La’el Collins is out for another month or so with a torn ligament in his toe. He started 11 games as a rookie in 2015 before starting three games this year, but will be on the mend for this game.

Randy Gregory

Dallas will also have several players suspended this week. Defensive end Randy Gregory is banned for 10 games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. You may remember Gregory from his 2015 draft fall that had many Bengals fans hoping the team would take Gregory, but Marvin Lewis and his crew wisely passed. Gregory appeared in 11 games last year, but only registered seven tackles and no sacks.

Rolando McClain

Linebacker Rolando McClain is also serving a 10-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. He played in 11 games last year and racked up 80 tackles, two sacks, one interception, and three pass defenses.

And... a return from DeMarcus Lawrence

Dallas will also have DeMarcus Lawrence, returning from suspension. Lawrence was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Lawrence, who led the team with eight sacks last season, now returns to a Cowboys team among the NFL’s worst at rushing the passer. They had only five sacks entering Week 4, so Lawrence’s return this week is huge for the Cowboys.

As for Dallas’ 24-17 win over the 49ers in Week 4, it looks like they came out of that game with no new injuries, but sometimes those don’t come out until practice begins the following week. It’s still safe to say Dallas will have several key players questionable to face the Bengals this week.