Injuries are ‘one exception’ in contention talk

IRVING – When Jerry Jones said last week that the Cowboys were evolving into a championship contender he left out one detail that would adjust his line of thinking – injuries.

While discussing Sean Lee’s season-ending toe injury on Wednesday, the Cowboys owner and general manager explained the exception to his original statement.

“I’ve said all along, this team has an opportunity to be a contender, but the one exception that I made was sitting as we’re sitting right now health-wise,” Jones said, standing in the halls of the team’s Valley Ranch training facility. “Injury can make a difference, and it does in the NFL. That’s part of it.”

Lee, the Cowboys’ leading-tackler, suffered a torn plantar plate in his right big toe in the third quarter of Sunday’s 19-14 victory over the Carolina Panthers. After Sunday’s game, Lee said he thought there was a chance he could play this week against the New York Giants. But a Monday MRI showed the injury was more significant.

“That’s a setback,” Jones said. “He’s not only a setback after the ball is snapped, but before the ball is snapped. The old adage that, ‘Well, it’ll give somebody else a chance to show what they got,’ doesn’t necessarily apply here because he’s a proven difference-maker out there. We’re going to have to adjust for it but there was never a doubt in my mind – I just didn’t know where it was going to happen – before we finished this season, this journey to where we want to go, we were going to have to be making injury adjustments.”