Sean Lee’s injury has stretched Cowboys thin at linebacker

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Linebacker Sean Lee didn’t practice Thursday, putting his availability for Sunday in doubt, and stretching the Cowboys thin at the position.

Anthony Hitchens remains a few weeks from returning to the field after fracturing the tibial plateau in his right leg on Aug. 26. He was given an eight-week timeline to return to game action but returned to the practice field as a limited participant Wednesday and was limited again Thursday.

That leaves the Cowboys looking at the potential of going with only four linebackers, including Jaylon Smith, on Sunday. They are trying not to overtax Smith as he works his way back from a devastating knee injury that caused him to miss last season.

If Lee can’t play because of his hamstring injury, Justin Durant would start at Lee’s weakside spot with Smith at middle linebacker and Damien Wilson at strongside. The three could rotate in sub-packages, via ESPN’s Todd Archer.

Durant played two snaps in the first two games and 32 Monday night.

Fullback Keith Smith formerly played linebacker, signing as an undrafted free agent linebacker in 2014 before changing positions last year. He could serve as an emergency option at the position.

However, the Cowboys worked out linebackers Richie Brown, Kenneth Olugbode and Eric Pinkins on Thursday, according to Archer.