Foot surgery complete, here’s what Cowboys’ DeMarcus Lawrence likely is dealing with and what game he should be back by

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The Dallas Cowboys have had a rough start to the 2021 season, and it’s only been one week. La’el Collins is currently suspended for five games, Randy Gregory is under COVID protocol, Michael Gallup is out for 3-5 weeks with a calf strain, and Donovan Wilson is dealing with a nagging groin issue that could force him to miss time.

That’s potentially four starters lost from a team looking to bounce back from a 6-10 campaign in 2020. However, on Wednesday, the Cowboys suffered another huge loss when DeMarcus Lawrence, the team’s best pass rusher and run defender, broke a bone in his foot. Head coach Mike McCarthy noted on Thursday that Lawrence has already had successful surgery to fix the issue and will be out for 6-8 weeks.

Cowboys Wire’s Rafael Vela has secured the following external opinion as to where the damage is and how the timeline for his return likely is constructed.

The fifth metatarsal is a bone in the fleshy part of the foot, not on an extended toe. Sometimes a fracture is a simple crack but as this required surgery it’s likely a displaced injury to the bone, meaning it may have splintered or twisted or been physically displaced.

Surgery may have inserted a pin or a plate to stabilize the bone and this will aid in and greatly increase the odds of full healing.

It will take six weeks for the bone to heal completely. Then add conditioning time and that may add an additional 1-2 more weeks to the time table. If he’s working hard in a pool and doing other things to maintain cardiovascular shape, 6 weeks ison the optimistic end of the window, but more than likely at least 8 weeks will be necessary before he returns to the field.

That timeline would have Lawrence returning in time for the club’s November 14 home game against the Atlanta Falcons, one week prior to taking on the Kansas City Chiefs on the road.

With the Cowboys hitting the road this week to face the Los Angeles Chargers and quarterback Justin Herbert, who is one of the league’s more mobile passers, the loss of Lawrence is brutal, especially if Gregory can’t get two negative COVID tests before Sunday. To counter this blow the Cowboys will need help from a plethora of players.

Dorance Armstrong will start at left defensive end with Lawrence out. This opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time for him as he is playing for his first lucrative payday. He’s shown gradual improvement each season since he was taken in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL draft. Armstrong will be looking to build off of a great showing in training camp and the preseason.

Veteran Tarell Basham will see an increased role which will likely lead to him starting on Sunday against the Chargers if Gregory can’t go. Bradlee Anae, the Cowboy’s fifth-round pick in 2020, will also see more playing time after just six defensive snaps as a rookie.

Rookie linebacker Micah Parsons is a key player to watch during Lawrence’s absence also. With his experience as a defensive end during his high school days, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn used Parsons to rush the passer during training camp. Also, the former Nittany Lion got guidance from Lawrence and future Hall of Fame pass rusher DeMarcus Ware on how to be more effective getting to the quarterback. With Lawrence off the field, look for Parsons pass rush responsibilities to increase.

There’s another rookie who will need to show his worth with Lawrence out. Chauncey Golston, who the Cowboys took in the third round in April, dealt with a hamstring issue that occurred during the first day of training camp in Oxnard and kept him on the PUP list until he passed a physical in late August. With his ability to rush from the edge and the interior, the Cowboys will need Golston to step up and build off of the momentum he created in OTAs and minicamp.

Lawrence won’t be easily replaced and the Cowboys will need all of the aforementioned players to keep their pass rush afloat until his return.

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