IRVING, Texas – Nose tackle Jay Ratliff underwent surgery for a sports hernia on Thursday, Dallas Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones told Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan, adding that the club has not yet decided if the four-time Pro Bowler’s injury is season-ending.
“We’re not sure of that,” Jones said, while acknowledging that a standard recovery period for such a procedure is three-to-five weeks.
Ratliff has missed seven starts this year with a series of injuries, including most recently, a groin strain. He recently made news thanks to a FOXSportsSouthwest.com exclusive report about a face-to-face confrontation in the Cowboys Stadium locker room following a win over the Eagles 11 days ago.
The loss of Ratliff strikes the Cowboys at the same nose tackle position that was being occupied by Josh Brent, who is being most to the the non-football injury list as a result of last Saturday’s car accident that led to the death of teammate Jerry Brown. The Cowboys will use young Sean Lissemore as the starter there, with rookie practice-squadder Robert Callaway as his backup – even though until this week Callaway had spent no time working with the regular defense in practice.
Dallas this week also signed former Browns and Jets prospect Brian Schaefering at the position.
The Brent and Ratliff situations have major impacts on the club’s future, financial and otherwise. Ratliff may have been deemed expendable with the development of third-year player Brent as Ratliff, barring a transaction, will count $7 million against the 2013 cap.