Cowboys likely down three defensive starters against Bucs

The Cowboys ruled out two of their starting defenders on Friday and a third looks unlikely to be on the field for the home opener.

Defensive tackle Jay Ratliff will miss his third straight game because of a high ankle sprain suffered at the tail end of the preseason. According to Jimmy Burch of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said that Ratliff hasn’t suffered any setbacks in his return from the injury which fits with the usual recovery time needed to return from the low ankle sprain’s dastardly cousin.

The Cowboys will also be missing defensive end Kenyon Coleman up front. Coleman has missed three games since 2006, but he’ll make it four thanks to a knee injury. Josh Brent and Sean Lissemore will start in place of the injured defensive linemen with Marcus Spears, listed as questionable, playing in reserve as long as he’s able to play against Tampa.

Safety Gerald Sensabaugh hasn’t been ruled out, but he’s doubtful thanks to a calf injury suffered in the Seattle loss. Sensabaugh didn’t practice all week which makes it quite unlikely that he’ll be able to be part of the secondary on Sunday. Mana Silva and Danny McCray will both likely see time next to Barry Church.

The Cowboys also ruled out center Phil Costa, safety Matt Johnson and linebacker Alex Albright. Linebacker Sean Lee, who has been slowed by a hip injury this week, is probable for the game.