While facing Detroit’s Calvin Johnson is daunting enough, the Dallas Cowboys might have to do it without one of their starting safeties.
Rookie J.J. Wilcox suffered a knee injury in today’s practice and will undergo an MRI later in the afternoon. The Cowboys are fearing a possible MCL sprain but at this point, before the test results, it doesn’t appear to be a season-ending injury. The injury occurred in the red-zone drills when he battled tight end Gavin Escobar for a ball in the end zone and came down awkwardly on his knee.
A third-round pick from Georgia Southern, Wilcox has been improving each week, and made a key play in last week’s game against the Eagles when he deflected away what appeared to be a touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson. Wilcox also had an interception that was called back when replay officials said the ball first hit the ground, ruling an incomplete pass.
If Wilcox doesn’t play, the Dallas Cowboys will likely start rookie Jeff Heath, who is battling an injury of his own. Heath sustained a right forearm injury last week but said the injury won’t keep him out of practice or the game.
The Cowboys also have Danny McCray, who is one of the team’s better special teams contributor. But if Wilcox can’t go, it’s likely the club would need to add a fourth safety – possibly rookie Jakar Hamilton, who is currently on the practice squad. To sign Hamilton, the Cowboys would have to release another player.
Wilcox is currently seventh on the team with 28 tackles. He took over as a starter in Week 3 against the Rams and started five straight games. He made a career-high nine tackles against Denver.