CHARLOTTE, N.C. – What a rollercoaster season it has been for Phil Costa, who has now suffered another big setback.
Costa has a severely sprained right ankle with a partial dislocation that occurred in the second quarter of the Cowboys' 19-14 win over the Panthers. Costa had to be carted off the field, but X-rays were negative. He left the locker room in a walking boot and is expected to have more tests on Monday.
Ryan Cook, who also had a hamstring injury the last two weeks, was a game-time decision to play. It was a good thing he could go, as he finished the game at center and will likely have that role now while Costa is out.
The timetable on his injury is unknown but head coach Jason Garrett had some concern after the game.
"It looked very severe to me from where I was sitting, and when they bring the cart out and they immobilize it all of those things," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "He's a tough kid. When he came inside, it still looks like a pretty significant injury. We'll monitor it day-to-day, but it looked really severe when it first happened."
This is the second time Cook has relieved Costa this year. After Costa missed most of training camp and the preseason with a nagging back injury, he was able to start the season opener against the Giants on Sept. 5. But three plays into the game, the back injury was re-aggravated and he was forced to the sideline and didn't return for that game or three others.
Costa returned last week in Baltimore and had one of his best games of his career as the Cowboys rushed for 227 yards. Costa more than handled Ravens' All-Pro defensive tackle Haloti Ngata for most of the game.
But against the Panthers, Costa's feet got tangled up at the line of scrimmage and his ankle got rolled up on. He tried to get up after he saw a fumble by Miles Austin but it was clear Costa couldn't put any weight on his right leg. He was carted off the field moments later and went straight to the locker room. While Cook will likely take over as the center, the Cowboys will again prepare second-year pro David Arkin as the backup.