IRVING, Texas – In the last few weeks, there have been several mentions about the exciting thoughts that surround the Cowboys' middle linebackers next season with Sean Lee and Bruce Carter.
However, with five games left to play this season, that might be the next time both of them get on the field, with or without each other.
Lee is already on injured reserve and there is now a chance Carter could join him, depending if he needs surgery on a dislocated elbow injury he suffered Thursday against the Redskins. Carter will see a arm/hand specialist in Dallas on Monday to determine if he needs the surgery, which of course would be season-ending.
The fact Carter won't have that visit until Monday suggests the linebacker will probably miss this week's game with the Eagles, regardless if his injury requires surgery.
So what's left at middle linebacker?
That would be four-year veteran Dan Connor, who has started the last two games after returning from a neck injury. He'll play alongside veteran Ernie Sims, who joined the team a few weeks ago and has served as the nickel linebacker. The Cowboys will likely add some depth in the middle through free agency, and could play versatile linebacker Alex Albright inside as well.
The Cowboys put Sean Lee on IR following his toe surgery after suffering torn ligaments in his right big toe at the end of the Cowboys' 19-14 win over the Panthers on Oct. 21. The club also placed Orie Lemon on injured reserve as well with a hamstring injury.
If Carter indeed goes to IR, he'd be the fourth defensive starter lost for the season, along with Lee, Kenyon Coleman (torn triceps) and Barry Church (torn Achilles). And while cornerback Orlando Scandrick is not technically a starter, the Cowboys could also lose their slot corner with a fractured left hand.