So there's Mark Lane's appropriately somber Dallas Cowboys video report regarding the first serious injury blow of the summer, as on Tuesday the team lost the services of starting cornerback Orlando Scandrick to a right knee injury. Immediately, Scandrick himself told team medical personnel that he'd sustained an ACL injury.
‘It’s my ACL,'' he said while writhing in pain. "I know it. It’s gone.’’
And immediately, his teammates turned to prayer.
"I'm at a loss for words,'' Morris Claiborne said. "I heard it in his voice. I've been there. I know that feeling."
Later in the evening, Scandrick underwent an MRI. Amid wildly premature speculation on Twitter, we thought it best to wait until the Cowboys themselves or, even better, Scandrick himself, contacted us with the results. Which he did at 8:21 p.m., Pacific time, telling us the MRI showed he sustained a tear of both his ACL and MCL.
The eighth-year pro was injured after colliding with WR Lucky Whitehead while defending a pass in today’s practice. It was an innocuous enough play ...
And again, national reports were quick to write that it was a "non-contact injury'' and whatnot. While there is nothing vicious about this, and nothing really avoidable about this, either, you can see it is indeed an accident and it was indeed the result of contact.
Said the rookie Whitehead: “I saw him come across at the last minute. I thought he was going to hit me so I tried to get down before I got hit. I mean, it was unfortunate that he got hurt. My shoulder pad hit his knee. I felt it. ...''
While this is nothing new, nothing unique -- more than a year ago Sean Lee was lost to the Cowboys in a similarly "innocuous'' way in an OTA collision with teammate Zack Martin -- it is still a stunner. Defensive teammates, especially Scandrick's secondary mates, found it hard to concentrate in the aftermath, and a few of them declined comment to the media.
Both current and former teammates are tweeting their support for Orlando Scandrick. pic.twitter.com/8a4FKcngDa— Jordan Ross (@TheJordanRoss) August 26, 2015
They did contact Orlando himself, though, and they did sent out best wishes via social media as well.
“It’s tough,’’ said an emotional secondary coach Jerome Henderson. “You get a little emotional because he’s one of your guys.’’
Scandrick has elevated himself to the Cowboys best corner, rising from being exclusive to the slot to also manning the outside in two-CB sets opposite Brandon Carr. Scandrick went the entire 2015 season without giving up a touchdown, on 69 targets (per Pro Football Focus). His NFL Passer Rating against was a mere 84.0 while giving up just 1.08 yards per reception, good for 19th in the league. He recorded 55 tackles and had a sack to go along with two interceptions in 2014. His play has improved steadily over the course of his seven seasons.
The Cowboys thought of him as being Pro Bowl-worthy a year ago (though he was ineligible as a result of his Molly-related suspension).
Scandrick is a smallish guy without a blue-chip pedigree who not only plays with a chip on his shoulder, but in many circumstances goes through life with a chip on his shoulder. I know that it's somewhat of an act; his relationship with many media people is prickly, but once you fight past that you find a funny, feisty, competitive ... and yeah, sometimes pricky ... personality who matters in the Cowboys culture.
Even last night, in our communication, there was mention of my Mavs and his Lakers and which team will be better. It's a running gag and his way of appearing "combative'' enough though it's all in fun. The "real Scandrick'' does have a fiery attitude that endears him to some teammates while keeping media at a safe distance. But the "real Scandrick'' is also in evidence when he's in the presence of his five-year-old twins Tatyana and Taylor.
Scandrick was in the midst of his most productive camp practice, having intercepted his first two passes of camp. He was well on his way to earning the extension of his contract this past May, which added an additional $9.5 million to his then-current contract and pushing it until the 2019 season. His cap hit for the 2015 season is $4.38 million, including a $1 million base salary.
He will now go about working to earn his salary for the 2016 season.
I will present with precious little comment Draya's decision to put Scandrick's X-rays on social media.
OK, and here's my precious little comment: I don't know if their on-again/off-again romance is a put-on or if she posted this X-ray with or without his permission. I know that I spoke to him in the spring, only half-jokingly, suggesting he avoid the hell out of getting dragged into the muck of reality TV. ... and I'm not sure he's exactly heeding my friendly advice.
For the Cowboys on the field, they will have to replace a player of multiple talents. Scandrick is a highly effective blitzer from the slot in addition to his coverage prowess. Second-year pro Tyler Patmon will get the first shot at the slot corner role while Scandrick is out. The team had finally amassed quality depth at the position, with the return from injury of Claiborne, the free agent acquisition of Corey White and the drafting of first-round pick Byron Jones. Mo will be first man up at corner opposite Carr, we think, starting with Saturday's preseason visit from the Vikings. But Byron Jones is capable of making a push there.