Sean Lee, Cowboys’ leading tackler, out for year with toe injury

Question of the Day

What has been the biggest debacle on Obama's watch?

View results

IRVING, Texas — Dallas Cowboys coaches won’t be talking to linebacker Sean Lee through his helmet mic anymore this season.

Instead, he might be in their ears all the time on the sideline.

Lee is out for the rest of the season with ligament damage in his right big toe, an injury that will require surgery. Coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday an MRI showed the extent of the damage and the team’s leading tackler and on-the-field defensive coordinator was placed on injured reserve. He will have surgery in about a week.

Lee was injured in the second half of last weekend’s 19-14 win against Carolina, and he was already donning a headset before the game ended.

“I remember seeing him on the head phones on the sidelines,” said his replacement, Dan Connor, an offseason pickup in free agency. “He was really coaching out there. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t.”

It’s not the first time Lee has been sidelined by a significant injury. He missed a year with a torn knee ligament at Penn State, and he could have missed a significant stretch last year with a dislocated wrist. He ended up sitting for a game and a half before coming back and playing the rest of the season with a cast.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Lee didn’t want to believe he needed season-ending surgery this time, but ultimately knew better.

“He has such an intensity about him,” Garrett said. “He said, ‘You know, I’m not getting down. I’m ready to go I’m going be part of this football team and we’re going to get this thing fixed. I’ll be back before you know it.’”

The Cowboys moved up in the draft to take Lee in the second round in 2010, and he was still available in part because of his history with injuries. He started 15 games last year, finishing with 105 tackles and tying for the team lead with four interceptions. He had 58 tackles in six games this year and another interception.

“I can’t tell you how well he’s been playing since he’s been our starting inside linebacker,” Garrett said. “He’s a bell cow for us and a guy that really everybody on our defense and football team looks up to.”

Connor will replace Lee as a starter heading into Sunday’s home game against the Giants, but the Cowboys signed veteran linebacker Ernie Sims, who played 13 games last year for Indianapolis. Bruce Carter, the other Dallas starter at inside linebacker, will call most of the defensive signals.

“It’s something that definitely stings when you lose your middle linebacker, but at the end of the day, they’re not going to cancel or postpone the games because Sean Lee got hurt,” defensive end Marcus Spears said. “You don’t have time to dwell on it.”

The Cowboys are fourth in the NFL in total defense and made two key stops in the fourth quarter at Carolina to help Dallas rally from a 14-13 deficit. Garrett showed faith in the defense by running on third-and-9 to set up the go-ahead field goal with still 3:25 remaining.

Garrett made that decision after the injury to Lee, who also missed two games his rookie season with a hamstring problem.

“This is not new,” Garrett said. “This has happened a lot. And you rally around it. Sean Lee’s the kind of guy that will stay engaged in our football team, and we appreciate that about him.”

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Get Adobe Flash player
You Might Also Like
  • Nathan Walker waits to take the ice during the Capitals' development camp at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington on Monday, July 9, 2012. (Ryan M.L. Young/The Washington Times)

    Nathan Walker’s NHL dreams send him around the world

  • Washington Nationals' Anthony Rendon, third from left, smiles as he warms up with his teammates who were were wearing t-shirts in support of him for the All Star game before an interleague baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Nationals Park, Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Anthony Rendon not an All-Star, but he’s been Nats’ MVP

  • Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter speaks during a media availability in the dugout before an interleague baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Monday, July 7, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    LOVERRO: Suck-up Buck Showalter needs history lesson

  • Argentina's Maxi Rodriguez, left, celebrates with goalkeeper Sergio Romero after scoring the decisive goal during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between the Netherlands and Argentina at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Argentina beat the Netherlands 4-2 in a penalty shootout to reach the World Cup final. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

    Argentina beats Dutch in shootout to reach World Cup final

  • Washington Redskins safety Tanard Jackson speaks during a media availability after an NFL football training camp practice at Redskins Park, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012 in Ashburn, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Tanard Jackson suspended indefinitely by NFL — again

  • Celebrities In The News
  • This image from video released by Funny Or Die shows President Obama, left, with actor-comedian Zach Galifianakis during an appearance on "Between Two Ferns," the digital short with a laser focus on reaching people aged 18 to 34. The president urged young people to sign up for the new health care plan through an appearance posted Tuesday, March 11, 2014, on the comic website Funny or Die, bypassing TV talk show titans like Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel for an online audience. (AP Photo/Funny Or Die)

    Obama’s ‘Ferns’ interview gets Emmy nod

  • ** FILE ** In this Nov. 12, 2013, file photo, actor Alec Baldwin leaves court in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

    Alec Baldwin in talks to play Rob Ford-like mayor in new NBC drama

  • Dinesh D'Souza's "America: Imagine the World Without Her" got promising reviews from two major Hollywood publications. It opens nationwide Wednesday.

    D’Souza on Costco debacle: ‘It was really bizarre’