The Dallas Cowboys defense have had their fair share of injuries this season. Some would even say more than their fair share. Well, it now appears another name can be added to that growing list. Rookie safety J.J. Wilcox injured his right knee during practice on Thursday. Cowboys officials believe it is an MCL strain. The incident happened during redzone drills. Wilcox and fellow rookie tight end Gavin Escobar were fighting for the ball in the endzone when J.J. came down awkwardly on his knee.
Wilcox will undergo an MRI later today. The Cowboys do not believe the injury is season-ending. If it is indeed a sprained MCL, depending upon it’s severity, the third round pick out of Georgia Southern could miss significant time. Starting running back DeMarco Murray suffered the same injury two weeks ago and has yet to play, but did participate in practice today. Baltimore Raven’s wideout Jacoby Jones missed six weeks with a grade 2 MCL strain earlier this season.
So far this year, Wilcox has recorded 25 total tackles as he improves from week-to-week. He replaced veteran safety Will Allen earlier this season as the stater, eventually leading to Allen’s out-and-out release from the team.
Against the Philadelphia Eagles last weekend, Wilcox had an interception in the endzone challenged and reversed when the ball appeared to bounce off the hands of Eagles’ wideout Jason Avant.
With Wilcox sidelined, undrafted rookie Jeff Heath out of Saginaw Valley is most likely his replacement. Heath has recorded nine tackles this season in very limited action. He is mainly a contributor on special teams. The Cowboys could also use veteran safety Danny McCray, who is also strictly used on special teams. And they currently have undrafted rookie safety Jakar Hamilton on their practice squad.
Regardless, this news is not good for Dallas considering they will go into Ford Field this Sunday to play the 4-3 Detroit Lions and All-Pro wideout Calvin Johnson. Although currently playing their best football of the season, Dallas’ defensive backfield has been torched by some of the NFL’s top quarterbacks this year. This latest injury could be honey to the ears of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and his pass-happy offense.