FRISCO, Texas – Dan Bailey's groin injury is likely to sideline him "at least a couple of weeks," head coach Jason Garrett said, and the Cowboys are hoping to sign a replacement kicker after holding scheduled workouts on Tuesday.
Bailey, a 2015 Pro Bowl selection, has never missed a game in his seven-year career. But the Cowboys are preparing for that streak to end this Sunday against the Washington Redskins.
"Without trying to put a timetable on it, we're going to bring some kickers in here tomorrow to work out with the understanding that Dan is not going to be available for us for at least a couple of weeks – certainly not available this week," Garrett said Monday.
The kicker workouts are expected to include Sam Irwin-Hill, who went to training camp with the Cowboys this year; 12-year veteran Mike Nugent; and three-year veteran Jason Myers.
Bailey strained his groin during sideline warmups in the second quarter of Sunday's 40-10 win over the San Francisco 49ers. The Cowboys immediately ruled him out for the remainder of the game, forcing safety Jeff Heath – a college kicker with a soccer background – into emergency kicking duties.
Heath, a starting safety, handled the situation well against the 49ers. He converted two touchbacks on five kickoffs and made 2 of 3 extra point tries. But with Bailey injured, the Cowboys will look for a full-time kicker to step in.
Bailey is 7-of-7 on field goals and 16-of-16 on extra points this season. According to Pro Football Reference, he is currently the NFL's all-time leader in field goal conversion percentage (89.89 percent).
"Obviously, we have a tremendous amount of confidence in him. He's a great kicker," Garrett said. "He's as reliable a guy doing his job as we have on our football team, and obviously his job is a really, really important job."
Signing a second kicker while Bailey recovers would require a roster move to create an open spot.
Garrett said the Cowboys don't plan to place Bailey on the Reserve/Injured list, which requires a minimum of eight weeks on IR.
"You have to make a decision at another position in order to keep two kickers. That's not natural for a team to do," Garrett said. "We don't think the injury's that severe to put (Bailey) on IR. He's certainly someone we're going to keep up on the roster. But we do have to get another kicker in here to function this week."