COVID-19 kept Dallas Cowboys standouts Micah Parsons and Tyron Smith from playing in the team's regular-season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles, but it won't keep them out of the club's playoff opener. The two have been removed from the reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of Sunday’s playoff opener against the San Francisco 49ers (4:30 p.m. ET, CBS), coach Mike McCarthy announced Wednesday.
The additions are both of big importance, as Smith anchors the Cowboys offensive line at left tackle, and Parsons, as a first-round draft pick, has energized the team's defense throughout his rookie season. Starting safety Jayron Kearse remains in COVID-19 protocols, per McCarthy.
It's been a trying season for Smith, an eight-time Pro Bowler, due to an ankle injury that forced him out of three games in November. He aggravated the injury in December in a win over the Washington Football Team, but returned to start Dallas' Week 17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. His return for the 49ers game will solidify an offensive line that is among the best in the NFL when healthy.
Parsons, a versatile linebacker, has been a highly impactful addition to the Cowboys defense, playing both off the ball and in pass rush. He's recorded 13 sacks and 30 quarterback hits, and three forced fumbles while making 84 tackles in his first pro season, with much of his sack production coming after being asked to rush off the edge more while the team awaited the injury returns of defensive ends DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory.