FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys projected starting safety Xavier Woods' status for the regular-season opener at the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 9 is in jeopardy because of a hamstring strain suffered in Saturday's preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals, sources told ESPN.
Woods' absence leaves the Cowboys thin at the position and has Dallas considering multiple options, including veteran George Iloka, who was released by the Bengals on Sunday. Iloka had been a Bengals starter since 2013 and was set to count $6.2 million against the cap.
The Cowboys have been linked to Earl Thomas, who has skipped training camp so far with the Seattle Seahawks, throughout the offseason, but executive vice president Stephen Jones said last month that the teams have not had any conversations since the draft.
In addition to Woods' injury, fellow starter Jeff Heath has played through a mild ankle sprain and third safety Kavon Frazier has dealt with knee swelling. Backup Jameill Showers, who was fighting for a roster spot, is out for the year with a torn ACL suffered against the Bengals, and Marqueston Huff has not practiced since injuring his groin in the first preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Woods suffered the injury while tracking a deep ball near the Cincinnati sideline. He had an MRI on Sunday that confirmed the strain.
He played in every game last year, mostly at nickel corner, but has been working with the first team since the offseason program began with Byron Jones returning to cornerback after a two-year absence.
Defensive linemen Datone Jones, who opened camp as a starter at nose tackle, suffered a sprained MCL in his left knee against Cincinnati and could miss a few weeks.