IRVING, Texas – The season appears to be over for Jay Ratliff.
The defensive tackle, who underwent abdominal surgery Thursday in Philadelphia, has missed the last three games.
Ratliff's season began with a foot injury, then a high-ankle sprain kept him out five weeks. Ratliff returned to action and played rather well for six games, but suffered the groin injury just before the Thanksgiving Day game with the Redskins.
Ratliff's future with the Cowboys is also a bit uncertain. The eight-year veteran who has made the Pro Bowl the last four years, still has five years remaining on his contract but after the injury-riddled season and the fact he'll be 32 at the start of next year, releasing him might be something to consider.
Then again, the Cowboys are already very thin at the position, especially now with Josh Brent's uncertain status for the future.
As for the rest of this year, the Cowboys will likely turn to Sean Lissemore to start at nose tackle, with help from recently-called-up Robert Callaway and newly-signed vet Brian Schaefering. Marcus Spears might also provide some depth inside.
The Cowboys have been playing more 4-3 fronts in the last few weeks and could continue that in the last three games.
Obviously it's been a frustrating season for Ratliff, who also had an altercation with owner/GM Jerry Jones in the locker room following a 38-33 win over the Eagles on Dec. 2. Witnesses said Ratiff had to be restrained by teammates after the confrontation with Jones.