Cowboys Tapper’s Back Issue: ‘I Thought I Was Paralyzed’

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(105.3 THE FAN) – Ultimately, the Cowboys once again have one of those “What Did They Know And When Did They Know It’’ medical issues. But for the moment, rookie defensive lineman Charles Tapper is just glad he can feel his legs.

“I just woke up (at training camp in Oxnard) and (thought), ‘Oh, a little back pain. I went to sleep the next day and I couldn’t move my leg. I didn’t know if I was paralyzed.’ ”

What Tapper, a fourth-round rookie from Oklahoma, was actually feeling was a problem rooted in a fracture in his back, which he says has been diagnosed as a “pars defect.’’ He indicated he’s occasionally experienced discomfort since childhood, but nothing this serious until this summer, when an MRI revealed the true issue.

“Very frustrating,’’ said the good-natured Tapper on Monday as he detailed the issue. “You don’t get to play. You put in the work, but you don’t get to have that fun.”

Ideally, Tapper is now on a path toward healing. But first he needs to practice something he hasn’t done since early August. The Cowboys have suggested he will miss this weekend’s opener against the Giants but could play for the defensive-line-needy Dallas might participate in Week 2.

“I’m back running and cutting,’’ Tapper said. “As soon as the trainers say I can play, I’m playing.’’

In the meantime, critics have a reason to wonder whether there was a pre-draft oversight here and whether it’s commonplace for something like this to slip through the cracks while the medical staff ideally guides Tapper back to the field.

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