OXNARD, Calif. (AP) – The Dallas Cowboys are dealing with yet another setback at guard after Ron Leary was sent home for more examinations on a right knee that probably needs surgery.
Coach Jason Garrett said Thursday the team didn’t consider the injury serious and hoped to have Leary back at practice in “a couple of weeks.”
The regular season opener Sept. 8 against the New York Giants is a little more than three weeks away.
Leary got a late start at training camp because of a back injury but was working with the first team soon after he started practicing. The second-year player has a degenerative condition in his left knee.
“He has had a very good training camp,” Garrett said. “Wasn’t able to practice with us early on in camp, but really, when he started practicing, came on strong, did a nice job for us.”
Both of last year’s starting guards, Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings, have missed time at camp. Livings remains sidelined after knee surgery two weeks ago. Backups Kevin Kowalski, Ryan Cook and Ray Dominguez have been hurt as well.
The Cowboys tried to sign former New York Jets guard Brandon Moore, but he decided to retire. They’ve also been talking to six-time Pro Bowler Brian Waters, who hasn’t played since 2011 with New England. He was a standout in Kansas City for 10 years before that.
Leary’s injury came just as the guard situation seemed to be settling down for the Cowboys after Moore turned them down. Leary showed promise quickly, and Bernadeau returned to his starting spot after missing two weeks when he strained his hamstring in the pre-camp conditioning test.
“Frustration is really not a good emotion to have,” Garrett said. “If a player gets injured, what we want the player to do and think about is think about what do I need to do to get myself better, and focus on that, and don’t worry about anything else besides that.”
Offensive coordinator and line coach Bill Callahan said Leary had already shown in camp that he was capable of starting.
“I just want him to pick up where he left off when he comes back,” Callahan said. “He is a guy who can fill that position well if Nate is out so we are two guards down at that spot.”
David Arkin, a fourth-round pick two years ago, was working with the first team at left guard Thursday with Livings and Leary out. The Cowboys have moved him around a lot in the interior of their line because of injuries, but he’s never played in a regular season game.
The Cowboys break camp in Oxnard on Friday and play their third preseason game Saturday at Arizona before returning to Texas.
“I love Arkin,” Callahan said. “Love guys who have that position flex and can fill those roles. They are invaluable in so many ways. Dave filling in at right guard early in camp, whether it’s playing center a year ago through preseason or as we go into tomorrow’s game he will probably get some snaps at left guard.”
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