IRVING, Texas — Sean Lee is a tough sumbitch who carries a huge load as the Dallas Cowboys defensive leader and who increasingly also carries with him the unfortunate reputation of being injury-prone.
“I want to be on the field more than anything, but I’ve had trouble staying on the field,” said Lee in a frank one-on-one interview with FOX Sports Southwest. “I want to rehab right, but I also want to rehab fast. It’s my job to have pride in battling my way back onto the field.”
The Pro Bowl-caliber middle linebacker who leads Dallas in tackles and interceptions is being told the hamstring pull he sustained in a week ago in that embarrassing loss at New Orleans could sideline him for four weeks or more. That sounds safe and sensible. But to borrow one of his go-to words he’s utilized after all five of Dallas’ losses this year, missing four weeks is “unacceptable.”
Says Lee: “I’m exploring every avenue possible to come back as fast as possible. … The only thought I have is to be in as control of the situation as I can and to do everything I can to overcome whatever the problem is.”
As Lee detailed for FOX Sports Southwest, “everything” includes the seemingly exotic and the seemingly experimental. Anything. Everything. Answers.
1)NormaTec. This recovery system features compression boots that push excessive fluids away from the injury site, meaning circulation to the tissue improves. Better circulation equals faster healing. So in a way, this is a techno-massage, serving to push out the bad to let in the good.
“That’s pretty common for a lot of guys, who use the compression boots almost as a precautionary thing,” Lee said.
2) LiteCure Laser. This is literally a cold laser treatment applied to the bare skin. The “laser” (quote marks courtesy of Dr. Evil) stimulates tissue healing and nerve regeneration. Again, this is highly technical and highly advanced and almost sounds a little kooky. But it belongs on Sean Lee’s Bye-Week To-Do List.
“There’s a cold laser treatment and a hot laser treatment,” said Lee, who is using both.
3) And finally: Hyperbaric therapy. Athletes climb into the hyperbaric oxygen chamber and the stimulation heals. Terrell Owens understood this awhile back. Dirk Nowitzki understands it now. The 2011 NBA champion Dallas Mavericks had their veterans spend time in the chamber almost as a preventative measure and those guys still rave about it.
“You climb out of there and your entire body feels refreshed,” said Lee, who is presently on a twice-a-week program in the chamber.
The air pressure inside a hyperbaric oxygen chamber is about two-and-a-half times greater than the normal pressure in the atmosphere. This helps the patient’s blood carry more oxygen to organs and tissues in the body and accelerates healing.
“Overall I feel really good,” said Lee, not yet ready to change that four-week prognosis but certainly walking around Valley Ranch on Monday with a spring in his step. “I don’t have the date. But I know I have made progress.”
Dallas is in contention at 5-5 and coming off the bye week, a good time for some to recline and rest. Sean Lee is not resting. And of course, he’s a tough sumbitch not cut out for malingering. The ice tub helps. So does work on the elliptical bike. But more than that? NormaTec boots. LiteCure Laser. Hyperbaric chambers. Everything modern medicine has, he wants. Everything that gets him back before four weeks, he tries.