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Dallas just can't win: Nguyen out 6-8 weeks


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snakebitten they are this year:


As if the mental pain inflicted by Sunday night's loss at Houston wasn't enough, the Dallas Cowboys discovered Monday they sustained a physical wound as well, losing starting middle linebacker Dat Nguyen for 6-8 weeks.

Nguyen underwent surgery Monday to repair a broken wrist. A surgical pin was inserted to promote quicker healing and the wrist was casted. The injury occurred in the first quarter of the 19-10 defeat to the expansion Texans but Nguyen continued to play and posted seven tackles and a sack.

The fourth-year veteran complained of pain after the contest and an X-ray reveled the fracture.

The loss of Nguyen is a serious one for the Dallas defense, because the team has only five linebackers on the roster, and no true backup in the middle. Coach Dave Campo considered moving weakside linebacker Dexter Coakley to the middle, but probably will now give the first shot to second-year veteran Keith Adams, who has played in only five games.

"We'll get him back whenever he's healthy,'' Dallas coach Dave Campo said. "Dat is very instinctive, a guy who makes plays. We'll miss him.''

Jamal Brooks, who was to have been the backup middle linebacker, suffered a broken leg in the preseason and was placed on injured reserve.

"It's a setback, no doubt about it, but we have to find a way to get through it," Coakley said. "Everyone has to turn it up a notch now."

A third-round choice in the 1999 draft, Nguyen became a full-time starter last season and he led the Dallas defense with 172 tackles. The former Texas A&M star, while undersized, has become a solid player and team leader.

The Cowboys are likely to have to add another linebacker by Tuesday.

As anticipated, Dallas on Monday signed eight-year veteran wide receiver Darnay Scott to a one-year, $650,000 contract. Scott played for offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet in Cincinnati. He had 396 receptions for 5,975 yards and 36 touchdowns, playing in 109 games, and starting 103 of them.

"I know the playbook in and out,'' Scott said. "I hope I can come in and contribute. I'm not coming in to take anybody's job. I came in to help the team win.''

Scott will provide much-needed experience and deep speed to a very young wide receiver corps. To create a roster spot for Scott, the Cowboys released second-year offensive tackle Char-ron Dorsey.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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