Zack Martin won’t play this week but healthy starters will

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The Cowboys continue to insist they will play any healthy starters in Sunday’s meaningless game against the Giants. But during his radio show on 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday morning, Jerry Jones ruled out right guard Zack Martin.

Martin has played most of the season with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. He aggravated it in the Cowboys’ victory over the Eagles, keeping him out against the Colts in Week 15.

He returned Sunday to play all 52 snaps, but Martin will work on the side during Wednesday’s practice, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said.

“We’re just going to take all those guys’ situations day by day and really the overarching theme is anybody who is healthy and ready to play is going to play in the ball game,” Garrett said. “Again, we’re going to prepare the right way and go try to play the right way on Sunday.”

In 2016, the last time the Cowboys were in a similar situation in Week 17, they treated it like a preseason game. Left tackle Tyron Smith was inactive; running back Ezekiel Elliott, linebacker Sean Lee and left guard Ron Leary dressed but didn’t play; and Dak Prescott played 15 snaps and Dez Bryant 18.

“This idea that you have a whole other team, we’re not going to play the starters, we’re going to play the backups, logistically, you can’t do that,” Garrett said. “The numbers don’t allow you to do that. We’re going to play our football team. Anybody who is healthy is going to play in this ball game and play to the best of their ability. Our focus is on preparing the right way and then go play the right way and hopefully that will give us the best opportunity the following week in the first round of the playoffs.”