As he stood in the locker room after the game, leaning up on crutches and wearing a bulky walking boot on his left ankle, rookie linebacker Luke Gifford didn't know exactly how to feel.
On one hand, he was extremely disappointed to suffer an injury in his first preseason game – a high-ankle sprain that will likely keep him out of practice and games for multiple weeks.
On the other, he was at least encouraged with what he did before the injury, which was make an open-field tackle, a pass deflection and then an interception in the second quarter.
"I think it looked worse than what I ended up having," said Gifford, who had an MRI on Sunday for further tests. "But yeah, it was a rollercoaster (night). I made a couple of good plays. But I've still got a lot of work to do."
For now, Gifford's work will likely be rehabbing the injury. And it'll be interesting to see how the Cowboys evaluate the rookie linebacker from Nebraska after just half a game. But even before Saturday, Gifford was turning some heads at camp.
"It's been pretty good so far," Gifford said. "But we'll see how it goes (with the injury). Everything happens for a reason. It'll be all right."
Another young player who suffered an injury after a good performance was wide receiver Cedrick Wilson. The first-year player from Boise State, who played in his first game after missing all of last year with a shoulder injury, caught three passes on three targets for 36 yards.
But in the second half, he suffered a vicious hit over the middle and he was taken to the locker room. Wilson is back in Oxnard with the Cowboys, but will remain in the concussion protocol.