IRVING, Texas – Sean Lee underwent successful surgery to repair his torn ACL on Thursday morning, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett confirmed.
"He had surgery this morning, and by all accounts the surgery went well. I talked to Sean extensively about it yesterday, he feels good about it," Garrett said. "They got him all cleaned up and he'll be back doing his rehab before you know it, and he'll be back on the playing field before you know it."
Lee tore the ligament on the first day of Organized Team Activities on May 27, opening the door for plenty of speculation about who will fill his vacated middle linebacker position. Garrett has been cautious with his comments about Lee's injury and recovery timetable since it happened, creating some speculation that the Cowboys are hopeful he could play some kind of role in the coming season.
"I'm a day-by-day guy in these situations. There's certainly an allocated amount of time that it takes for guys to heal coming back from these kinds of injuries," Garrett said. "Sean's going to come in here every day and do everything he can to get himself back. It's going to take some time – we all understand that, he understands that."
If Lee is at some point placed on the team's injured reserve, he becomes unavailable for the duration of the 2014 season. But one line of thinking is that the Cowboys could place Lee on their Physically Unable to Perform List, or PUP. Essentially, that would make him unavailable for the first six weeks of the season. Starting with Week 7, he would be available to practice for three weeks before the team could decide to either move him to the active roster or sideline him.
Garrett declined to speculate on the available options in regard to Lee's situation for the time being.
"We'll talk about all those roster decisions," he said. "We want to get through the surgery, we'll talk about what the timetable is and what we'll do as an organization." [embedded_ad]
It seems like the best-case scenario for Lee's recovery would have him available for the last week or two of the season, but even that seems like a stretch. Typical recovery time for a torn ACL is about 12 months, though some players have rebounded more quickly. Garrett said the plan for the time being is to get Lee started on his rehab sooner rather than later.
"This used to be the injury that ended guys' careers, and that's 20 to 25 years ago. But there's so many stories of guys coming back from ACL injuries and coming back stronger than ever," Garrett said. "We have a lot of stories in this organization, on this team, of guys who played a lot of really good football coming back from this kind of injury."