FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys have not yet determined how to proceed with contingency plans on the offensive line following Wednesday's news that center Travis Frederick has been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
The most important focus right now, team owner/general manager Jerry Jones says, is Frederick recovering from the auto-immune disease.
"The biggest thing we've been worried about in this organization is his health, his long-term health, his individual well-being as opposed to how it impacts us as a team or impacts him as a player," Jones said Thursday before practice. "His well-being is the most important thing.
"Right now I'm just pleased that we've got our finger on it, for him and his family."
Frederick announced his diagnosis in a statement Wednesday night, saying he has already begun treatments that have improved his overall strength. The Pro Bowl center had been dealing with stinger-like symptoms in his neck and shoulder during training camp and has not practicing in more than a week. Visits to multiple medical experts helped confirm the diagnosis.
"You could tell something was bothering him, and he brought up the stingers and those kinds of things," head coach Jason Garrett said. "You could tell he wasn't quite right. We watch our players constantly do everything, and you obviously want to develop good relationships with guys and communicate all the time. So once kind of saw some things and he was sharing some things with us, that's when we really tried to delve into it."
There is no timetable for Frederick's return to football activities at this point. Joe Looney has moved into the starting lineup at center for now. The Cowboys signed rookie center Jacob Ohnesorge for depth earlier in the week. All-Pro Zack Martin is also capable of playing center, though Garrett said they'd like to keep him at right guard.
Garrett said it was too early to discuss what to do with Frederick's roster spot. The 53-man roster will be determined on Sept. 1. The Cowboys could initially place him on a reserve list, such as injured reserve, with the option to activate him later in the season, or they could continue to carry him on the active roster even if he's unable to return for Week 1.
"He's two days into this treatment, and again he's responded well to it," Garrett said. "So we'll just wait and see how he continues to respond. We don't have to make those decisions for a couple more weeks. Obviously he is a huge part of our team, and he's worth any roster spot when it comes down to it, because of what he's done and hopefully what he's going to be able to continue to do for us. We'll just wait to see how he does and make those decisions when we need to."
Jones said Frederick's spirits are "great" as he's now able to pinpoint the issue and how to treat it.
"As you know, he's extraordinarily intelligent and he's a completely focused individual in whatever he is looking at," Jones said.