The Dallas Cowboys’ injury toll continues to rise.
According to multiple reports, tight end Jason Witten suffered a spleen injury during the team’s Monday night preseason game against the Oakland Raiders. The injury caused internal bleeding and, according to a Pro Football Talk report, will sideline Witten for the remainder of the preseason and perhaps beyond.
Dan Patrick broached the possibility of such an injury during Wednesday morning’s broadcast of “The Dan Patrick Show,” and Pro Football Talk has since cited sources who have confirmed the injury.
The injury is believed to have occurred on a forceful first-quarter hit from Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain that had Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones holding his breath. Witten will not, however, require surgery, according to the Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill Jr., because his spleen is not ruptured.
Witten joins a lengthy list of skill position players who enter the season with serious health concerns.
Wide receiver Miles Austin missed six games last season due to a nagging hamstring injury that also kept him out of Monday’s first preseason game. Running back Felix Jones failed a training camp conditioning test and was a virtual non-factor against the Raiders. Receiver Andre Holmes also flunked the initial test.
Meantime, talented but troubled third-year receiver Dez Bryant could face suspension from the NFL after he was arrested for allegedly assaulting his mother last month.
One of the team’s most durable players, Witten has missed just one game during his nine-year career while amassing 7,909 yards and 41 touchdowns. Although his receiving totals were down a bit in 2011 (79 receptions, 942 yards, five TDs), Witten could be needed as a blocker more than ever before with the visible struggles of the offensive line.