The preseason is half over, and injuries around the league are piling up at an exponential rate. The Cowboys got a few scares in our last game, but nothing too major. Here’s the latest injury reports (DMN):

Look for cornerback Quincy Butler and defensive end Jason Hatcher to return to practice this week. Coach Wade Phillips said there is nothing new on Greg Ellis’ return.

Tight end Anthony Fasano sounded more optimistic about his shoulder injury than Phillips did. Fasano said he expects to practice Tuesday but Phillips was awaiting word from the trainers.

Fasano has been bothered by this injury since last year. He re-injured it earlier in the off-season and had the shoulder driven into the turf in the second quarter vs. Denver. Not sounding too alarmed, Fasano said if it was a regular season game he would have returned.

Running back Jackie Battle is sporting a boot on his left ankle. He’s picked the wrong time to get hurt.

I expect Jason Hatcher to be fully involved once he returns to the field. In my opinion he posseses a better pash rush than Spears, but to Spears’ credit he appears to be a different player this year. So, in the end, Spears and Hatcher should both have solid numbers, and you can’t ask for a better situation than that. Jackie Battle could be out of the 53-man roster now, I doubt he makes it now. There was a chance he may have. But as I wrote in a previous post, Stanback was the key for Battle. Stanback is playing now, making plays, and looking the part in practice. In addition to Stanback looking good, he may have leap frogged Miles Austin who had a horrible game against the Broncos. So, with that being said, depending on Battle’s health outlook, he could be looking at the practice squad, which may not be a bad thing for him with his injury, we could carry him there, rehab him, and have him ready for 2008 for sure, when the RB makeup could be revamped again. We’ll see.

Miles Austin could have single handedly dropped himself out of a spot. Austin should be able to make the first cuts on the 28th, but he better make some plays at WR and not depend on his special teams skills. Tyson Thompson has re-emerged as the featured return man, so Austin is in trouble there too.

Wide Receivers that make the team are: Owens, Glenn, Crayton, Hurd, Stanback

Austin is on the bubble now, and may not make it.

Joey Thomas is playing well, and has flown past Nate Jones in the CB position battles.

Cornerbacks that make the team are: Newman, Henry, Glenn, Reeves, Thomas

Jones and Ball are climbing an uphill battle at this point

Safeties that make the team are: Williams, Hamlin, Watkins, Davis, Brown

Brown makes the team, because of his diversity, he’s been playing at safety, but can also play at CB

The Fullback position is still somewhat clouded, it appears Hoyte is the man, but I think rookie Deon Anderson may be earning his stripes on special teams, he’s laying the wood on people everytime, and that’s the type of player you want on the field come gameday.

Dude, are we getting Ayodele?

There could be some hope at the NT position, it looks like Remi Ayodele could be distancing himself from the rest of the backups, and now has a shot at making the team. The others are pretty much out. By game three, the rosters are beginning to mold into that 53-man version we’ll see for 16 games. Ayodele played a lot of snaps after Ferguson sat down for the night. That’s promising.

The Ellis watch

Supposedly Ellis was “very close” to practicing. Who knows what is going to happen here at this point. His future remains clouded, and with that, so are the linebacker rosters. If Ellis is unable to return soon, or can’t continue on, we have some questions. I know Junior Glymph makes the team as a backup, and next would probably be Alex Obomese as a potential backup to Spencer.

Basically, I’m not equating Ellis into the starting 53-man roster. Obviously, if the Cowboys keep him on, he won’t start, this is a for sure thing. Ellis has an injury that takes over a year to fully heal, and he’s not ready. He stated he still has pain that won’t go away, so that’s a red flag. Obomese is making plays, but would he be able to play a few snaps to spell Spencer in relief? This next game is big for the backup LBs.