OXNARD, Calif. –An MRI on the back of starting center Phil Costa on Saturday revealed no substantial* *damage, and the Cowboys are not concerned that he will miss extended time.
However, he will not play in Monday's preseason opener at Oakland, and with no true centers still healthy, the club had to do something to address its thinnest position.
The team is bringing in 32-year-old veteran Jamaal Jackson for a workout on Sunday. Jackson, who spent the first eight years of his career with the Eagles, had been without a job this summer. He was released by Philadelphia in March and later signed with the New York Giants. However, he practiced only one day with the Giants this offseason before leaving the team.
If Jackson is in shape and can pass a physical, the Cowboys are expected to sign him, and he could be practicing on Wednesday.
In recent days, the Cowboys were having serious problems getting plays started without fumbling.
"We understand this is a really important thing," head coach Jason Garrett said. "We get it. We preach the ball thing to our team on a daily basis. But typically you don't have four centers who go down in a span of a couple weeks, so we just try to make the next best decision."
Other veterans under serious consideration were Tampa ex Jeff Faine, 39-year-old Casey Wiegmann and former Cowboys Pro Bowler Andre Gurode, but the team settled on Jackson after numerous discussions. The 6-4, 325-pounder was last a regular starter for Philadelphia in 2009, and has 72 starts during his career.
"We're always visiting short lists," head coach Jason Garrett said. "That's a daily thing. We're always looking at the list of guys who are available, who become available, who might be available on a team that has a glut of players at a particular position … You're always doing that and trying to evaluate and see what the best decision is."
Guards David Arkin and Harland Gunn and tackle Pat McQuistan have worked as fill-in centers during camp, but the exchange with the quarterbacks has been an issue for each of them. Arkin is expected to get the start against the Raiders, but the Cowboys want to cover their bases. Bill Nagy and Kevin Kowalski, the team's top backup centers when the season began, are not close to coming back from their respective injuries, and Nagy may need serious surgery.
Complicating things has been a three-day waiting period before any free agents signees can practice.
"You can sign a guy, but he can't do anything for you for three days," Garrett said. "That cuts both ways. You're not going to get immediate help this afternoon, but if you don't address it (it could get worse)."