FRISCO, Texas — The Cowboys have experienced their share of injuries to the offense and another big blow to the defense. But the special teams also took a hit as well.
C.J. Goodwin, who is considered the ace of the special teams with his coverage ability, will likely be out for a while with an arm injury.
However, it might not be as long as initially planned, at least that is what Goodwin is hoping for.The veteran said on Thursday in the locker room he expects to be out 4-6 weeks but will re-evaluate the injury and perhaps return for the second half of the season.
"I'm going to see if I can play after that. I've got pretty good motion right now," Goodwin said of his left arm. "There's not a lot of strength right now. But I'm going to see where I am. If I can come back and play and not hurt the team, I'm going to try. If I can't go, I'll just have the surgery. If I can go, I'll go out there and do my thing."
After exiting the 49ers game in the second quarter with what was described a shoulder injury, additional tests revealed Goodwin suffered a torn pectoral muscle, an injury that will land him on injured reserve.
It's a massive loss for the Cowboys' special teams unit, considering Goodwin is the definitive ace of the unit and has been since joining the team in 2018. And for a team that also lost special teams aces Noah Brown and Luke Gifford in the latest free agency spree this past spring, the loss of Goodwin stings that much more.
He's logged 1,424 special teams reps since 2018, and routinely impacts games.
"CJ … I can't describe how big of a loss that is," special teams coordinator John Fassel said. "On the game field, you guys see that. But everything he does Monday through Saturday – meeting room, practice field, mentorship, and he'll still do that. But we'll miss him on (gamedays). It's hard one to say, 'hey, you do this job.' He's just different. He's very special."
Considering Goodwin also provided depth at the cornerback position, the greatest likelihood is the Cowboys will look to Noah Igbinoghene to help fill the void — the former first-round pick having seen his special teams reps increase exponentially from Week 4 to Week 5, in large part due to Goodwin being unavailable in the second half against the 49ers.
Igbinoghene is already operating as depth at cornerback in the wake of Trevon Diggs' torn ACL, but there's also the possibility that other young talent will get a shot at providing some aid, namely rookie sixth-round pick Eric Scott, who has been inactive in all five games.