Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper placed on COVID-19 list, will miss Sunday's game vs. Chiefs

Jori Epstein
USA TODAY

FRISCO, Texas—Thursday at Cowboys practice, Amari Cooper told teammates about the three games he’d played at Arrowhead Stadium, describing to them how loud Chiefs fans can become.

Friday, the Cowboys learned: They will visit the stadium without him.

The Cowboys placed Cooper on the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday afternoon, announcing he will miss Sunday’s game between Dallas (7-2) and Kansas City (6-4). Cooper’s availability for a Thanksgiving rematch with the Raiders, his former team, is also in question.

Despite injuries, including to his rib and hamstring, Cooper has played in all nine Cowboys games this season. He has caught 44 passes for 583 yards and five touchdowns. Cooper was particularly effective in the Cowboys’ last road game, hauling eight receptions for 122 yards and the game-winning touchdown in a 20-16 victory at Minnesota.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper has caught 44 passes for 583 yards and five touchdowns through nine games of the 2021 season.

This week, the Cowboys must take on the Chiefs in what many expect to become a high-scoring game without Cooper’s production and constant threat.

If the Cowboys start three receivers, expect CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson to suit up. Gallup returned last game from a stint on injured reserve due to a calf strain but threatens on contested catches and deep balls. Second-year receiver CeeDee Lamb has proved Dallas’ most formidable playmaker, leading the Cowboys with 726 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Wilson capitalized on opportunities in Gallup’s absence, posting 438 yards and three touchdowns.

The Cowboys also have weapons in tight end Dalton Schultz (438 yards, three touchdowns) and running back tandem Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard. Elliott and Pollard have each averaged 4.7 yards and 5.4 yards per carry this season, a chance for Dallas to keep Chiefs quarterback Mahomes off the field for more time. Elliott has rushed for 663 yards and seven touchdowns; Pollard, 445 and a score.

Still, Cooper’s route-running, veteran leadership and complete game will be missed.

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“He’s a prototype receiver that can play any position,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said Friday. “He can play the speed game, his lateral quickness (and) his ability at the line of scrimmage is top-notch. He has the finishing speed, the size, the strength.

“He has all the attributes you want in a receiver.”

The Chiefs defense has struggled this season, allowing 373.2 yards (26th) and 24.1 points (22nd) per game.

The Cowboys lead the league in offense (433.9 yards) and scoring offense (31.6).

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.