Cowboys rookie J.J. Wilcox injures knee in practice, uncertain for Sunday
Wilcox was hurt while fighting for the ball with tight end Gavin Escobar during red zone drills, and was therefore unable to finish Thursday’s practice. The Cowboys’ initial fear is that Wilcox might have suffered a medial collateral ligament in his right knee, which could threaten his status for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions. However, the Cowboys’ don’t believe it to be a season-ending injury.
The third-round rookie out of Georgia Southern, who started the Cowboys’ last five games since bumping Will Allen out of the starting lineup in Week 3, will be likely ruled out for Week 8 causing him to miss his first game this season. Wilcox has 28 tackles and a pass deflection in seven games for the Cowboys.
Running back DeMarco Murray also sprained his MCL when the Cowboys hosted the Washington Redskins for a Week 6 win. He did play against the Philadelphia Eagles last week and looks unlikely to against the Lions after being limited in his second straight practice on Thursday.
“I thought he was moving around good the latter part of practice,” Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said of Murray.
If Wilcox is unable to play Sunday, the Cowboys will likely start undrafted rookie Jeff Heath. The Saginaw Valley State product had limited playing time in the Cowboys’ first seven games this season. Starting Sunday’s game will mark the most extensive playing time Heath has seen on the defense to this point in his professional career.
The Cowboys might also have to call up fellow rookie Jakar Hamilton practice squad. The Cowboys need help filling out the depth chart seeing how they only have three safeties – Heath and fourth-year pros Barry Church as well as Danny McCray – on the 53-man roster.
As for the rest of Thursday’s injury report, wide receiver Dez Bryant (hamstring, wrist) returned to practice on full basis after being limited the day before. Guard Ronald Leary had a full practice after missing Wednesday’s practice with a sore knee.
Wide receiver Miles Austin (hamstring), defensive tackle Jason Hatcher (stinger), defensive end George Selvie (shoulder) and running back Lance Dunbar (hamstring) were limited in practice for a second consecutive day.
Ware missed his second straight practice and cornerback Morris Claiborne did not practice as well because he was sick. But defensive tackle Nick Hayden, who also missed practice for a second straight day due to a sore back, hopes to return to practice on Friday.