Jason Hatcher is likely out for the Dallas Cowboys against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night due to a pinched nerve, ESPN's Ed Werder reports. Hatcher was marked questionable on Friday's injury report, and was considered a game-time decision.
Hatcher's absence will be mitigated somewhat by the return of defensive end DeMarcus Ware from a thigh injury. Hatcher has arguably been the Cowboys' best defensive lineman this season, however. He suffered a stinger during the Cowboys' win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 9. On the year, he has 29 tackles, seven sacks and a forced fumble.
The Cowboys will likely turn to Drake Nevis, a third-round pick in 2011, and Jarius Wynn, a sixth-round pick in 2009, to replicate Hatcher's production. On the year, the two have combined for 12 tackles and one sack.
The Cowboys need all the help they can get against an offensive line that ranks eighth in the NFL in adjusted sack rate, according to Football Outsiders.