It really hasn’t been the greatest offseason and training camp for the Cowboys.
So far, Dallas knows it will begin the season without defensive linemen David Irving, Damontre Moore and Randy Gregory, all of whom have been suspended.
The team also faces the uncertainty surrounding the status of running back Ezekiel Elliott pending the running back’s appeal of a six-game suspension.
But finally, there was some good news for the defending NFC East champs.
Linebacker Anthony Hitchens was expected to miss the entire season with a torn ACL he suffered last week against Oakland in the team’s third preseason game.
But when doctors performed arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday, they saw something they weren’t expecting — Hitchens’ ACL is intact after all.
Hitchens shared the good news via Twitter.
God work in crazy ways just have to believe and give yourself up to him thank you thank you be back THIS year better then ever GoCowboys!!!
— Anthony Hitchens (@AnthonyHitchens) August 28, 2017
Stephen Jones, the team’s executive vice president, was also relieved to hear the news.
“Obviously we feared the worst and it was one of those few times it turns out better,” Jones said. “He was given an eight-week recovery period, it could be reduced from that, but we’ll see.”
Hitchens did suffer a tibial plateau fracture in his right knee, an injury similar to what receiver Dez Bryant suffered last year that forced him to miss four games.
Hitchens started every game for Dallas last season and finished third on the team with 104 tackles. The team will try to fill his absence with Jaylon Smith and Justin Durant.
Smith is an incredible story himself, making a return from a devastating knee injury in his final college game at Notre Dame after the 2015 season. Doctors weren’t certain he’d ever walk normally again, let alone play in the NFL. But he may end up starting, after rehabbing all of the last years.
Make no mistake, Hitchens’ injury was a scare, but now the outlook is much more positive.
“He had an amazing training camp and now we know that he’s going to hope to get back on the field sooner rather than later,” Jones said. “More than anything we’re happy for Hitch because he’s been one of the leaders and certainly in my mind had one of the better training camps of any player we had on our team.”
The Cowboys will wait to hear from the doctors as to how long Hitchens will be out before determining if he will start the season on the 53-man roster or be placed on injured reserve. If he goes on IR, he will not be eligible to practice for six weeks and can’t play in a game for eight weeks.
However, teams can only move two players off of IR to their active rosters during the season.
Now the team will await a ruling for Elliott.
The Cowboys open the season at home Sept. 10 against the New York Giants.