Throughout the week, optimism within the Dallas Cowboys organization was growing that star second-year wide receiver CeeDee Lamb would be able to take the field on Thanksgiving just a few a days after sustaining a concussion.
Unfortunately, those hopes were dashed on Thursday morning, just a few hours before kickoff.
According to NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero, Lamb has been ruled out of this afternoon’s contest against the Las Vegas Raiders. Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reported that the 22-year-old wide receiver was unable to pass the final steps of concussion protocol and that the Cowboys want to protect him long term, rather than rush him back to action.
Still, the news of Lamb’s inactive status comes as quite a shock. On Wednesday afternoon Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Dak Prescott spoke favorably of the receiver’s recovery from a concussion that he sustained in last weekend’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs, implying that he would be on the field against the Raiders.
Lamb has been the Cowboys best wide receiver this year and leads the team in receiving yards (740) and touchdowns (6). His absence will be compounded by the fact that Dallas will already be without four-time Pro Bowl wideout Amari Cooper on Thursday.
Given that Lamb was trending in the right direction all week, the NFL world was shocked to hear that he would’t be on the field with the Cowboys this afternoon.
— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) November 25, 2021
— David Helman (@HelmanDC) November 25, 2021
Get it done, Dak. No excuses. https://t.co/D4ra6N1kLk
— Mark Gunnels (@MarkAGunnels) November 25, 2021
No Lamb on Thanksgiving https://t.co/OD69lrg93G
— Al Butler (@ALaboutSports) November 25, 2021
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) November 25, 2021
Without their top two wideouts available on Thursday, the Cowboys will need a host of other players to step up. Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson will do their best to fill the shoes of Lamb and Cooper, but tight end Dalton Schultz will also need to provide Prescott with another pass-catching outlet this afternoon.
One way that Dallas should be able to fill the hole at wide receiver is to turn to the ground game. Las Vegas ranks in the bottom five in rush defense, which should allow Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard to have big days.
Kickoff for the Cowboys-Raiders game is at 4:30 p.m. ET on CBS.