Austin was ruled out after missing three days of practice with a strained hamstring suffered in the third quarter of last week's win against the St. Louis Rams. Because of Austin's history of hamstring injuries, the Cowboys will be conservative with him, but coach Jason Garrett said it is not as severe as some of the strains the receiver suffered in previous seasons.
After practicing Friday, receiver Dwayne Harris (hip) said he will play Sunday even though he was listed as questionable.
"Monday I couldn't even move," Harris said. "It feels so much better. I'm not worried about it. I played the whole game Sunday with the same thing."
Although the Cowboys will go with a committee approach to replace Austin, rookie Terrance Williams will get the bulk of the work. Williams has five catches for 60 yards through three games, but he had a mix-up with Tony Romo in the Week 1 win against the New York Giants that led to the quarterback's only interception so far this season.
Romo's message to Williams this week?
"Just continue playing," Williams said. "If I mess up, just like mess up going 100 mph, not going 50 and thinking. Just play fast and just continue to progress."
Williams said his experience in the first three games, in which he played 97 snaps, has helped him prepare for the most extended playing time of his career because he knows the speed of the game and the speed at which Romo wants to play.
"I've just got to continue to show them on the plays when we check out of that I know what I'm doing," Williams said. "The more I keep doing that and doing it, the more he can just keep checking out of them just to relieve some stress from Dez [Bryant] or Jason [Witten] or somebody else.
"I have to continue to keep showing them that I can pick up what he's saying straight off the top instead of thinking about it and then trying to play half speed."
Garrett believes Williams has made a decent transition to the NFL.
"Terrance right from the start has come in here and it never has seemed too big for him," Garrett said. "He works very hard. I think he's gotten better and better at each of the different phases of his game. Again, it's not easy to come in here and beat these NFL corners, but I think he's done some positive things for us and made some plays for us.
"He's acclimated well. He still has a long way to go, obviously, and wants to have more of a role and contribute even more than he has up to this point. But he's certainly making progress."