And the list keeps growing. Today, the Dallas Cowboys Ministry of Information Withholding (MIW) revealed that Dan Connor is the fifth Cowboys player to have undergone shoulder surgery in the offseason. According to the report from the official team website:
Newly-signed linebacker Dan Connor is not practicing this week because of shoulder surgery he had before signing with the Cowboys in free agency in early March. Connor has not been cleared to practice for this week's OTAs and it's likely he could be held out until the start of training camp on July 30 in Oxnard, Calif.
The article goes on to say he joins Felix Jones, Barry Church, Alex Albright and OTA holdout Mike Jenkins . . .
Alex Albright? Wait a minute, when did he have surgery? I checked the Google and also did a search of our stuff here at BTB, and I can't find any mention of him going under the knife before today. Man, the guys at the MIW are good at how they sneak that stuff in.
But this is not really about the way the Jason Garrett-led Cowboys let us know about things when they think we need to know, and not a minute before. I was just looking at the fact that all of these players except Barry Church are unavailable or limited in practice because of the shoulder operations. Church has been cleared and participated fully in the OTAs this week.
They join the four draftees (Morris Claiborne, Tyrone Crawford, Kyle Wilber, and Danny Coale) who have all gotten hurt and/or had surgery so far this year. While this list can look a bit depressing, I think there is another way to look at things.
Find out what I mean after the jump. Sorry, I'm all out of clever pop culture references at the moment.
Every one of the injured players is expected to be ready when the Cowboys open training camp in Oxnard, California on July 30th. Danny Coale is the only one with a bit of a question mark, but the odds look pretty good that he will make it as well.
This makes me think of the concept of preventative maintenance. The idea behind that is to go in and fix things before they are badly broken so as to head off bigger problems in the future. Without having much information about the true nature of these injuries, it does seem that the team may be trying to get as many players as healthy as possible for training camp as they can. This does not apply to Crawford, Wilber and Coale, all of whom got hurt during the rookie minicamp, but the others, including Claiborne, look to be things that the team and players decided to get sorted out now so there would be a full complement of healthy bodies to start camp.
I'm not saying that this is any kind of new or radical approach. The only thing that sticks out is the general air of secrecy involved, which just seems to be the way things are now. But it does serve as a reminder that this is a very different year from the lockout. The team is able to take a prudent and proactive approach and give these players a chance to get issues resolved that caused problems last year, or at least could limit things for this season if they were not addressed. The Cowboys had their share of injury problems in 2011, probably aggravated by the lack of offseason conditioning and training. Now the team is showing every sign of taking great care to get these injuries cleared up so the players can be as productive as possible in training camp and the regular season.
So I guess I have to say that I see this as a positive thing. The players are getting better, and from what I can tell are attending the practices and getting "mental reps" to be ready when they are able to take the field. The only negative is for players like Coale and Albright who are in somewhat tenuous positions as they compete to make the final roster. It allows players like Tim Benford and Aston Whiteside to showcase their abilities and possibly make a move to get on the final 53. But, harsh as it may be, I just want the best players in the end. So it's all good, so far.