OXNARD, Calif. –
Ratliff, the Cowboys’ ninth-year defensive tackle, sustained the injury Saturday during team conditioning tests prior to the start of training camp.
“We’ll evaluate that as we go with Rat – Rat’s had a few different things going on over the last year that he’s dealt with,” Garrett said. “He worked very hard in his rehab, and he wanted to run the test yesterday, just to see where he was – to see if he could come back and practice as early as possible.”
Garrett said he’ll decide how best to proceed with Ratliff following the MRI, though team executive vice president Stephen Jones said the setback isn’t expected to be severe. Jones said Ratliff finished the team’s conditioning test despite the hamstring strain.
“He finished the conditioning test, so he’s working through some things, and we’ll handle that,” Jones said. “We’re not concerned.”
This isn’t Ratliff’s first experience with injury in the past year, as Garrett alluded to. He missed 10 games during the 2012 season with a litany of injuries. Plantar fasciitis limited him for most of 2012 training camp, and he was forced to the sideline during the season by ankle and groin injuries.
Garrett said the Cowboys will monitor Ratliff closely when he does return to the field, making sure to acclimate him slowly back to game speed.
“You have to be smart as a coaching staff and medical staff to see where these guys are. You have to make sure the reps are quality in practice and quality in the game,” Garrett said. “He plays a position where you naturally rotate guys. You want quality reps and give young guys a chance to get in there and play 8-10 reps. That’s good for your football team.”