FRISCO, Texas – Linebacker Anthony Hitchens sustained a tibial plateau fracture in his right knee with an initial recovery timetable of eight weeks.
The Cowboys feared a serious injury for Hitchens after the starting middle linebacker was helped off the field late in the second quarter of Saturday's preseason game against the Oakland Raiders at AT&T Stadium.
An eight-week timeline would place Hitchens' recovery near the end of October, roughly six games into the season. He's expected to have the knee scoped to confirm there's no damage to his anterior cruciate ligament.
Hitchens ranked third in team-credited tackles last season (104) in 16 starts at middle linebacker.
Justin Durant, who re-signed with Dallas in July, is the logical replacement for Hitchens in the rotation. The Cowboys have been deliberate with Durant's return to practice this summer coming off elbow surgery in the offseason. First-year linebacker Jaylon Smith took another step forward Saturday in his return from a 2016 knee injury, recording three tackles (one for loss) in his second preseason appearance.
Elsewhere on the roster, cornerback Duke Thomas suffered a high ankle sprain and MCL injury against the Raiders. Offensive lineman Chaz Green's ankle injury in the game will likely keep him out this coming week, but he could be back the week after.