While there may be the occasional silver lining that could be found encasing minor injuries; no NFL team covets them at this or any time of the year. The occasional minor tweak that rests a veteran for a week or so can often lead to younger players earning more snaps and increasing their knowledge base. However, when it's a young player that a team is trying to decide if he can be a contributor or if he is simply camp fodder, a serious injury is about the last thing the team, or said player, needs. Unfortunately, that's exactly what the Dallas Cowboys have with the announcement that Bill Nagy's injury from yesterday's practice is a high ankle sprain, per ESPN.
Nagy will undergo an MRI today to determine the severity of the sprain and how long he will need to be kept off of the field. It is the same ankle that Nagy broke in the Week 6 game against the Patriots last season; further adding clouds to the prognosis of the 2011 seventh-round selection.
The loss of Nagy leaves the Cowboys ridiculously thin at one of the team's most unsure positions, center. The team is currently without two other players that are competing for a starting position at either guard or center; fellow second-year player Kevin Kowalski and FA signing Mackenzy Bernadeau.
Bernadeau is recovering from offseason hip and knee surgeries but was brought in as a planned starter at one of the two positions. Once the hip surgery happened, the team decided it would be better for him to solely focus on the right guard position. There is no current timetable for either of the two players to return to practice.
This leaves only incumbent center Phil Costa and UDFA Harland Gunn (University of Miami) as the players available at center. Costa will now work without much competition for his job and there will always be the debate around which better serves for improvement; self motivation or competition. From previous Jason Garrett quotes, he appears to favor competition.
The team still has David Arkin and Ron Leary to play the right guard position, so that spot seems a little more secure, for now.