Sean Lee will ask for a second opinion on the torn ACL he reportedly suffered during OTAs on Tuesday, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Lee hopes to undergo surgery in two to three weeks, depending on the swelling around his knee. Per La Canfora, the Dallas Cowboys linebacker did not sustain damage to any other ligaments.
The Cowboys have yet to release a statement on Lee's injury, though results from an MRI indicate that he will likely miss the 2014 season, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. The team has yet to place him on injured reserve, perhaps in hopes of a positive second opinion or that he could return late in the season if rehab goes well. ESPN's Ed Werder pegged Lee's recovery time at eight to 12 months.
Lee is apparently taking the news relatively well. Though he was reportedly visibly and audibly upset when he suffered the injury Tuesday, he has already shifted his focus to becoming a positive influence for the Cowboys, according to reports.
Also, to reiterate, Lee is holding no one culpable for the OTA injury - not Martin, not the Cowboys. He slipped. Don't expect any sanctions— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) May 29, 2014
Sean Lee, a leader whether healthy or not, was at Valley Ranch today helping young LBs prepare to try to replace him.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) May 28, 2014
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett expressed his support for Lee on Tuesday. Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas recorded several of Lee's teammates also giving their best wishes, including Jason Witten, Bruce Carter and Dez Bryant.
"Man, it brought me down," receiver Dez Bryant said. "I was very emotional because of the fact that he's one of the guys that I highly respect in the NFL, especially on the Cowboys. Don't nobody work harder than Sean Lee. Just to see that happen to him, it's heartbreaking. I know the whole season, I'm going to have [Lee's number] 50 somewhere on me."
The task of replacing Lee could fall upon the shoulders of youngsters. Rookie Anthony Hitchens out of Iowa reportedly played middle linebacker with the starting defense Thursday. DeVonte Holloman, a sixth-round pick in 2013, played well when thrust into a starting role last season in part due to Lee's neck problems.
Among available free agents, the likes of Pat Angerer, Jonathan Vilma, Brian Urlacher or Rocky McIntosh could be called upon, though the Cowboys may want to get a sense of Hitchens' potential first, according to Cowboys blog Blogging the Boys.
For now, they are content to evaluate their own talent, because there is no need to rush. Todd Archer, on point as always, points out that most any free agent they may look at will likely still be available come training camp. The Cowboys can always make a call then. Or, they can study other rosters and look for players who could possibly be released for some reason. The Cowboys do not have to panic into making a quick move, if they decide to make a move at all.