[UPDATE]: Late Saturday night, this information was provided. Crisis apparently averted!
Cowboys S Israel Mukuamu underwent an MRI today to evaluate a minor groin issue he aggravated in Friday’s preseason win vs. Seahawks. He has a strain and “will be good” for season opener vs. Buccaneers, person familiar with situation said.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 28, 2022
Cowboys S Israel Mukuamu aggravated a groin injury tonight that he dealt with leading up to the win over Seahawks. He’ll undergo an MRI on Saturday. Mukuamu is one of team’s most improved players. Had his second interception in as many games. https://t.co/2cvBqYSvtO— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 27, 2022
Injuries are always bad, but ones in preseason games are among the very worse given how little is at stake on the scoreboard. Safety Israel Mukuamu had been one of the most consistent players in both practices and the preseason, snagging his second interception in three exhibition games against an admittedly generous Drew Lock. But his contributions this summer have gone well beyond leading his team in picks.
Meanwhile Izzy done played corner, deep safety, box safety, big nickel, regular nickel, is tackling well,playing with range and got 2 picks. The damage is done #CowboysNation #cowboys https://t.co/nsLOq9GquT— Voch Lombardi (@VochLombardi) August 27, 2022
Mukuamu appears to be developing in the same mold as players like Micah Parsons, Jayron Kearse, Anthony Barr, and Markquese Bell, who all are used in a hybrid role in Dan Quinn’s defense. This kind of flexibility can multiply the challenges for offenses they face. The personnel on the field do not automatically tip what the defense is doing when they can switch roles from play to play.
With the cutdown to 53 players looming, Mukuamu appeared to be cementing a spot on the team. Now we have to see what the medical examinations reveal. The Cowboys were already reeling from the loss of left tackle Tyron Smith for the majority of the coming season. Additionally, cornerback Kelvin Joseph left the Seahawks game early with what was later reported as a concussion. The loss of Mukuamu is somewhere between those two players, as he looked more secure than Joseph entering the game.
Now the Dallas staff not only has to find out how bad the injuries are, they have to sort out how they might handle them. Both Mukuamu and Joseph could become part of the roster manipulation that will shape the roster that actually is available for the first game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In Mukuamu’s case, the best outcome would still be something that he can overcome with some rest and rehab over the next two weeks.