The Cowboys said on Sunday that they were “not concerned” about the health of defensive tackle Jay Ratliff after he injured his hamstring as training camp got underway.
They might not have any deep fears, but they sent Ratliff for an MRI anyway. David Moore of the Dallas Morning News reports that the MRI showed a “mild” hamstring strain for Ratliff. Moore adds that there is no timetable for his return at this point.
Even though the Cowboys are installing a new defensive scheme this season, there’s no reason for the Cowboys to be anything but patient with Ratliff’s recovery. He’s been around long enough that they should have confidence about his ability to pick up the mental side of things while he’s rehabbing and there’s plenty of time for him to get to game speed if he makes a relatively swift recovery.
The bigger issue for the Cowboys might be that Ratliff’s starting off this year the way he spent all of 2012. Ratliff missed 10 games last season because of a variety of injuries and he wouldn’t be the first veteran defensive lineman — Ratliff turns 32 in August — to see his body betray him at this point in his career. If that’s the case, a defensive line already thinned by the Achilles injury suffered by defensive end Tyrone Crawford would be severely stretched.
Last year taught the Cowboys a harsh lesson about how well that turns out, so it would be best for everyone in Dallas if Ratliff gives them no reason to rethink their unconcerned response to his injury.