Already missing Pro Bowl defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence on the left side, the Dallas Cowboys are now going to be without their starting defensive end on the right side.
Randy Gregory suffered a calf strain during the one-on-one portion of Wednesday's practice, according to Mike McCarthy. Gregory is expected to miss multiple weeks.
Before Wednesday's practice, McCarthy had stated that Gregory would be part of a "veteran Wednesday group" meaning that he would play less snaps during the day's practice compared to other players.
Unfortunately, misfortune still befell the defensive player. Placing the defensive end on injured reserve is a possibility, but the team has not made that decision yet.
McCarthy stated Thursday that dealing with injuries is part of coaching an NFL team and that the hardest part is on a personal level.
You always feel terrible for the individual," McCarthy said. "…He was one of our best players on defense," McCarthy said. "Our defensive players feed off of his activity."
The coaching staff met after Wednesday's practice in order to discuss how to approach Sunday's game against Atlanta knowing that Gregory would be unavailable.
"You go through all the options," McCarthy said, claiming that they will figure out how to disperse the snaps that Gregory would have played. "We feel good about our plan. We'll just stay the course."
Could rookie linebacker Micah Parsons be part of that fill-in plan defensive end?
"The game starts at noon on Sunday, so don't be late," McCarthy said with a smile, not tipping his hand either way.
Drafted in 2015, this was Gregory's first shot at a full productive season, having been mired in suspensions throughout his career due to the NFL's substance abuse policy. Believing in his potential as a player and his determination to play, the Cowboys stuck with Gregory, and their patience was being rewarded this season. The defensive end had recorded 12 quarterback hits, five sacks, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery in seven games thus far.
When Gregory might be available to return is still unknown at this point, but McCarthy stated confidently that it will only be a setback for him.
"He was back [with the training staff] this morning," McCarthy said on Thursday. "He'll attack the rehab like he's attacked everything else."