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Ismail out for the season


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Sorry if this has already been posted, but this could be really bad news for those Dallas QB's!

Aug. 20, 2002

SportsLine.com wire reports

SAN ANTONIO -- Dallas Cowboys receiver Raghib Ismail will undergo neck surgery Wednesday to repair damage from a collision with a teammate last week in practice.


Although he's likely to be out for the season, doctors said he should be able to continue his career.

Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday he wasn't planning on immediately putting Ismail on injured reserve, which would end his season, because he hadn't yet talked to the receiver. But Jones made it clear "we're not planning on him playing this year."

Dr. Dan Cooper described the injury as a huge herniated disk. The problem is made worse by the fact Ismail has a relatively small spinal canal, although Cooper said it's not the same chronic narrowing that contributed to the end of Michael Irvin's career.

Ismail will have the disk removed and the two vertebra around it fused together. It will be done by Dr. Drew Dossett, who has performed the same procedure on many pro athletes, including former Cowboys fullback Daryl Johnston.

Johnston's career continued after his operation and Cooper expects Ismail to play again, too. "As long as the surgery is successful and he heals, he could return to football," Cooper said.

The 32-year-old Ismail would have been playing his 10th season, fourth in Dallas. His past two seasons were also marred by injury, including a torn knee ligament in 2000.

"We haven't seen anybody work harder to rehab and come back from his knee surgery, so it's quite a disappointment for him and his wife," Jones said.

The Cowboys were counting on Ismail and Joey Galloway to provide speedy targets in the West Coast-style offense being implemented by new coordinator Bruce Coslet. Rookie Antonio Bryant is likely to replace Ismail in the starting lineup.

Raghib Ismail was on the field for a few minutes after taking a knee from linebacker Dat Nguyen. (AP)

Ismail was hurt last Wednesday when linebacker Dat Nguyen kneed him while trying to avoid a collision. Ismail was down for a few minutes, then walked to the locker room with trainers. He didn't return to practice and was held out of a preseason game Saturday night.

The Cowboys initially listed the injury as a strain, then became more concerned when he reported tingling and numbness in his arm. He returned to Dallas on Monday for further exams.

Ismail was a huge star running and receiving at Notre Dame, but has never lived up to his promise in the pros.

He began his career in the CFL, then came to the NFL in 1993 with the Raiders. He didn't become a starter until 1995 and didn't have a 1,000-yard season until 1998, his third year in Carolina after three years with the Raiders.

He parlayed his success with the Panthers into a contract with Dallas and in his first season responded with career highs for catches (80) and yards (1,097). His most memorable moment as a Cowboy probably came in his first game, when he caught a 76-yard touchdown pass from Troy Aikman in overtime to beat the Redskins in Washington.

He had 53 catches for 834 yards and two touchdowns last season.

"We thought Rocket was probably our most productive offensive player last year," Jones said.

Jeff Robinson, the deep snapper signed to solve one of the team's biggest problems, left practice with a right knee injury.

Jones said doctors told him that the initial diagnosis was a ligament injury. Robinson was expected to have an MRI exam Tuesday night.

"It looks like an ACL. That's terrible, it really gets us," Jones said. "It would be us in a situation where we'd be looking for a deep snapper."

Robinson, also a tight end, was injured during a pass-blocking drill.

The team's injury report released after practice Tuesday listed Robinson with a sprained knee.

Robinson, who played the last five seasons with the St. Louis Rams, signed a $4.8 million, four-year contract with the Cowboys.

After Dallas released 14-year veteran Dale Hellestrae, Randy Chevrier and Mike Solwold both struggled in the job last year. The Cowboys had a record six kicks blocked and lost their field goal kicker to injury because of a botched snap.


The Associated Press News Service

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Ismail AND the high-priced long-snapper ... OUCH!

The long snapper could be just as painful a loss to the Pokes. Bryant willl get more playing time and thus mature faster. Looks like a big-play guy not unlike Ismail.

That's some tough breaks. Have to checkout Hard Knocks tomorrow night.

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