OXNARD, Calif. – The Cowboys really can't afford another setback at the defensive end position, but they will likely be without another key player on the line.
Tyrone Crawford had to be carted off the field near the end of Tuesday's practice with a right ankle injury that seemed rather serious, causing the veteran to writhe in pain for several minutes, getting comfort from his teammates. Moments later he was helped onto a cart and wheeled off into the locker room.
Early diagnosis suggests no actual break of the bone but possibly some ligament tears that could still keep the defensive end out for a while.
"We just have to see guys, but right now we really can't speculate on anything," said Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones minutes after practice. "We just don't know. Keep your fingers cross, hopefully it'll just be an ankle sprain. It's obviously not a high ankle."
This isn't the first time Crawford has experienced a scary injury, especially on the practice field in Oxnard. Just a few yards away back in 2013, he suffered a torn left Achilles and missed the entire season.
Last year, Crawford dealt with constant shoulder and hamstring injuries that kept him out of two games. Eventually, he underwent surgery on his shoulder for the second straight year.
So far in camp, Crawford had been one of the best defensive players.
"Yeah, are you kidding me?" Jones said when asked how Crawford has been playing here in Oxnard. "He's one of the leaders on this team, leader of the defensive line group. Certainly a huge part of this team."
The Cowboys will be without both Damontre' Moore (two games) and David Irving (four games) due to suspensions from the NFL. If Crawford's injury extends into the regular season, it will put even more stress on a position that still has Benson Mayowa, DeMarcus Lawrence, Taco Charlton and Charles Tapper.
- Crawford wasn't the only Dallas defensive lineman to leave practice, unfortunately. Early on in the afternoon, the veteran defensive tackle visited the medical tent with a hamstring problem. Thornton's afternoon ended early, as headed to the locker room. The severity of the injury isn't currently known.
- Rod Smith appeared to tweak his ankle during the course of practice. The running back had his ankle taped during practice and appeared to be favoring it, but he didn't leave the field.
- Slowly but surely, Ryan Switzer is working his way back to practice after his hamstring injury. The rookie receiver went through the individual receiver drills at the start of practice, showing off his footwork and agility. He didn't take part in the competitive portions of practice against the defense, but he did take reps in special teams drills as a punt returner.
- David Irving also worked his way back into practice on Tuesday. Irving didn't play at defensive end, though, instead shifting inside to defensive tackle. He also played as the nose tackle in the Cowboys' Deacon package, which features a three-man front.
- The offense easily took care of the defense during the much-anticipated Compete Period. Lance Lenoir started things off by beating Duke Thomas on a comeback route, and Geoff Swaim followed that up by outpacing Jameill Showers on a corner route. In the final rep of the period, Ronnie Hillman juked Joseph Jones on a route coming out of the backfield.
Kavon Frazier –The second-year safety found his way to the football on Tuesday, as he managed to intercept Kellen Moore during 11-on-11 reps. Facing pressure, Moore drifted left out of the pocket and tried to fire a pass across the field toward Brian Brown. Frazier read Moore's eyes and jumped in front of the ball for a nice interception. He also had a nice breakup of Geoff Swaim in full-team reps.
Anthony Hitchens –It's hard for linebackers to flash in practice, considering they can't tackle. But Hitchens looked fantastic in coverage on multiple occasions. Most notable was his running breakup of a slant thrown by Dak Prescott into traffic. It didn't look like Prescott even saw Hitchens drifting toward the throwing lane as he tried to fire the ball inside, but Hitchens drove downfield and broke it up. He honestly had a chance to intercept it, but he was just a fraction off.
Maliek Collins –It was immediately obvious that Collins was back at practice, as he was his usual disruptive self on several occasions. What stood out the most was Collins' work in one-on-one pass rush drills. Going against Zack Martin, he gave the All-Pro guard everything he could handle on multiple occasions. There aren't many defensive tackles who have the power to push Martin off the line, but Collins can do it.
Play of the Day
It was good execution by Dak Prescott and the offense at the goal line in team drills. Cole Beasley lined up behind Jason Witten in the left slot and went vertical, taking Sean Lee and Chidobe Awuzie out of the play. Beasley broke to the flat and beat Leon McFadden for the score.
Unofficial Injury Report:
LB Justin Durant (NFI)
OT Chaz Green (shoulder)
CB Jourdan Lewis (hamstring)
CB Anthony Brown (hamstring)
OG Joe Looney (toe)
LB Jaylon Smith (rest)
DE Tyrone Crawford (ankle)
DT Cedric Thornton (hamstring)
Returned to Practice:
DE David Irving (ankle)
DE Charles Tapper (hips)
DT Maliek Collins (hip)
DE Benson Mayowa
Wed., Aug. 9
3:45 pm (PDT) – Practice