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Jones Expects Leary Back For Opener; Sees Guard As Starter


OXNARD, Calif. – Owner/general manager Jerry Jones believes guard Ron Leary will be ready to return from his knee surgery in time to play against the Giants in the season opener at AT&T Stadium.

Jones said in his mind Leary, who will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, is a starter on this team. He has no doubt Leary will have a speedy recovery from his knee injury after coming back quickly from a different injury to begin camp.

"It's a great thing for us that Leary will be back for the first game, and I'm sure that he will be, and I'm confident he will be, and it has everything to do with his attitude," Jones said. "I know how hard he worked to get back when he came to camp with a calf strain, so I think if anybody would be ready to play in these circumstances, he'd be ready to play."

Leary's path to a starting spot opened wide when guard Nate Livings had to have a knee scope of his own. Jones still wants competition at the guard spot, but he doesn't know precisely when Livings will return at this point. He expects Livings to be back around the start of the season, if not soon after the first game.

"I think we've got 18 offensive linemen in camp," Jones said. "Then you look at where we've had our concentration of injuries, nicks, it just seems like we can't get ahead of it there in terms of these injuries."

Jones said he hates that Leary won't be able to get work in these next couple weeks, but he's relieved the injury isn't more serious than it seems to be. Leary came into the league with questions regarding the condition of his left knee, but the injury is to his other knee.

Head coach Jason Garrett indicated Thursday afternoon he didn't think the surgery to Leary's knee would be anything serious. Most knee scopes tend to keep a player out between two and four weeks, and both Garrett and Jones are optimistic the recovery will be on the shorter end.

"Guys get hurt in football, and we're fortunate that we don't think it's a real serious thing," Garrett said. "We can get it cleaned up. He has had a very good training camp. Wasn't able to practice with us early on in camp, but really, when he started practicing, came on strong, did a nice job for us. Again, we anticipate this being something that's not overly complicated. We think it's going to be a relatively simple procedure, and hopefully he'll be back soon enough."

The additions of Leary and center Travis Frederick to the starting lineup seemed to give a jolt to the offensive line early in the preseason. Running back Lance Dunbar said last week the holes and running lanes are as big as he's seen since he's been here.

Jones has clearly seen the same thing, and even if the Cowboys to decide to bring in a veteran guard, it sounds like Jones still sees Leary as a starter.


"With Frederick and Leary in there and what you're seeing with Bernadeau in there is you're just seeing that base," Jones said. "You don't have the sense of getting pushed back. It's just strength there in the middle. We've got work to do and we can get better, but that's what you're feeling in my mind with those guys out there."  

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