FRISCO, Texas – Unfortunately for Zack Martin, this doesn't sound like something that's going to go away during these last seven weeks of the season.
Talking to him after Sunday's game, following a brief injury scare in the first quarter, Martin said his injured knee is something he'll have to continue to manage as the rest of this year goes along.
"It's just something I'll kind of have to deal with," he said. "It's nothing serious, it's kind of one of those little nagging things you've got to keep an eye on and keep treating through the rest of the season."
It's a testament to Martin's toughness that he used the phrase "nothing serious" to describe a knee sprain. Halfway through the first quarter, with Dallas driving toward the Eagles' red zone, La'el Collins drove a pass rusher backward and toppled directly into Martin from behind, rolling up his knees in the process.
Judging from the substantial amount of pain he appeared to be in, it seemed logical conclude that Martin would miss far more than a couple of series. Asked about it after the game, though, he said he was fairly confident he'd be back.
"I was pretty sure that I just re-aggravated what I did a couple weeks ago in Washington," he said. "It felt similar, so I was able to come back here and get reexamined, tape it up and tighten the brace up a little bit."
That's now three times that Martin has had a scare with his knee during the course of this Cowboys' season. He initially hyperextended it way back on Aug. 21 during a preseason game against Cincinnati – a situation that was initially feared to be far worse.
Then, three weeks ago against Washington, he exited briefly around halftime before finishing the game.
And yet, all of that has amounted to roughly a dozen missed snaps – which isn't exactly surprising for a guy of Martin's mindset. As Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Monday, that's part of what makes Martin such a valuable player, in addition to the obvious All-Pro talent level.
"I think he missed 13 snaps in the game and kept going and played well once he came back into the game," Garrett said. "That's what he's all about. It's his makeup. It's his character, besides just the physical ability he has to play the game at a high level."
With that in mind, it sounds like a good bet that Martin will once again be available when the Cowboys travel to Atlanta this weekend. Garrett said Monday the plan is to take his situation "day by day" as the Cowboys go through their practice schedule, but owner/general manager Jerry Jones said Tuesday he thinks the perennial Pro Bowler will be on the field.
Having watched Martin's career, not to mention what he's fought through to this point in the season, that feels like a safe bet.
"Just what he's all about," Garrett said. "He's just one of those guys. He loves football. He's as tough as they come."