9:49pm: The preliminary diagnosis is a lateral ankle sprain, which isn’t a long-term injury, tweets Ed Werder. Crawford may miss the entirety of the preseason, but should be fine for the long-term, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).
8:26pm: Cowboys defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford left practice on a cart Tuesday with a lower right ankle injury, Clarence Hill of the Star Telegram was among those to report (on Twitter). Crawford looked to be wiping tears from his eyes as he exited, per the Dallas Morning News’ Jon Machota (via Twitter), which doesn’t sound promising. The fear is that Crawford suffered a break as a result of getting tangled up on a running play with Ezekiel Elliott, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com. However, the Cowboys “have no idea yet,” said executive vice president Stephen Jones (Twitter link via David Moore of the Dallas Morning News).
The 27-year-old Crawford is no stranger to serious injuries, having lost the entire 2013 campaign to a torn Achilles. The four-year veteran also missed time last season, sitting out two games, but he did pile up the third-most sacks (4.5) on a Cowboys defense that finished 13th in the NFL in that department. Crawford also trailed only Maliek Collins in snaps among Cowboys D-linemen (624), and he ranked a respectable 56th in performance among Pro Football Focus’ 110 qualified edge defenders.
Losing Crawford for an extended period would be the latest significant hit to a Dallas D-line that will go without the suspended trio of Damontre Moore, David Irving and Randy Gregory for two, four and 16 games, respectively, in 2017. Thanks in part to those players’ bans, the Cowboys’ top ends aside from Crawford are Benson Mayowa, who totaled a team-leading six sacks in a part-time role last season, the oft-injured Demarcus Lawrence and first-round rookie Taco Charlton.
It’s possible a major Crawford injury would lead to the Cowboys checking in on the free agent market for established pass rushers. Dwight Freeney, Mario Williams, Paul Kruger and Trent Cole are the most proven options available.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.