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Marion Barber misses practice but Wade Phillips won't count him out

Marion Barber misses practice but Wade Phillips won't count him out


Dallas Cowboys running back Marion Barber (24) evades tackles as Philadelphia Eagles' Moise Fokou (53) gives chase in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Sharon Ellman)


Posted on January 13, 2010 at 6:26 PM

As expected, Cowboys Running Back Marion Barber didn't practice Wednesday at Valley Ranch.

"He did go through the walk through this morning and if anyone is going to play, Marion really wants to play in this ball game," says Head Coach Wade Phillips. "I think he's better so we'll see tomorrow as far as practice is concerned."

Barber has a swollen bursa sac in his left knee and has been limited. He played college ball at the University of Minnesota and grew up in Wayzata, Minnesota. That's only a twenty minute drive from the western part of Minneapolis. As you might expect, he wants to play in Sunday's playoff game against the Vikings.

Phillips says if Barber can't play, his absence won't do much to the rotation of the running backs, but the Cowboys will miss their bruiser.

"We've changed up the rotation throughout the year and I think the last part of the year, we've hit it where we feel comfortable with where they're playing," Phillips says. "It won't change much if Marion is healthy."

Barber was the only player who missed the first practice of the week but there is no question that he wants to play in the city where he played college football.

"I just sense with Marion that he wants to play," Phillips says. He's been mad at me the last two years because I didn't let him play in the preseason game there. I know he wants to play there."

Phillips says his injury hasn't gotten any worse but he knows how valuable Barber can be to the team.

"Marion is the kind of guy who can super charge the team," Phillips says. "He's an emotional leader on the field. You can tell when he runs with the football. His energy carries over to the team. No, he's not real vocal, he doesn't say a whole lot, but he says a lot with is expressions as far as the game is concerned and him running with the football.

If Barber can't play, Running Backs Felix Jones and Tashard Choice will be expected to carry the load. For Jones, the number of plays he has played in recent weeks continues to rise. He touched the ball 19 times in the Wild Card Playoff game, including 16 carries for 148 yards, 1 pass reception for 30 yards and 2 kickoff returns for 29 yards.

"Yeah, Felix being healthy is really the key to him getting the ball more, "Phillips says."He's shown that he can make big plays so once he got healthy again, we started playing him again, trying to get him the ball."

But Jones and Barter are as different as night and day. "They're a little bit different," Phillips says. "Felix is just so explosive. His big pays energize everybody. Marion's power plays and running over people and carrying the load are what he does."