Ismail sits out Thursday's camp after suffering stinger

Friday, August 16th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ Raghib Ismail sat out the Dallas Cowboys' two practice sessions Thursday, a day after straining his neck in a scary collision with linebacker Dat Nguyen.

The Cowboys said Ismail was held out for precautionary reasons. His status for Saturday's exhibition game at Carolina was unclear.

``We're going to rest him. It's nothing severe,'' coach Dave Campo said. ``His status is day to day.''

Ismail was on the field for Thursday morning's practice in shorts and a T-shirt. He left right after the session ended, and walked right past media who wanted to ask about his condition.

While Ismail didn't talk to reporters, he was overheard telling a friend that he was a little stiff, but felt better than he did after being hit Wednesday night.

Ismail got hurt after catching a pass from Quincy Carter in the right flat. The 5-10, 183-pound Ismail faked a defender, cut back toward the middle and then, as he turned his head to run upfield, smashed into the 243-pound linebacker.

``I tried to avoid him and he just hit me in the hip,'' Nguyen said, pointing to his right side. ``The game is so fast _ things like that happen. I'm just thankful that he's OK.''

The defensive backs knew right away that it was a solid hit and called for the trainers. Ismail lay on the turf for several minutes before getting up and walking off on his own.

Ismail, the former Notre Dame star who was a runner-up for the 1990 Heisman Trophy, is starting his fourth season with the Cowboys. He has been hampered by injuries the past two seasons.

In 2000, Ismail missed the last six games of the season after tearing ligaments in his right knee in the 10th game at Philadelphia. He missed two games early last season after straining ligaments in the same knee against San Francisco, in the same game he had a career-best 80-yard touchdown catch.

Ismail and Joey Galloway, who missed all of 2000 with torn knee ligaments, give the Cowboys arguably the NFL's fastest receiving tandems when both are healthy.

Last year, Ismail had 53 catches _ one more than Galloway. Ismail's 15.7-yard-per catch average was 10th in the NFL.

After leaving Notre Dame, Ismail played two seasons in the Canadian Football League before joining the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders from 1993-95. He was then traded to Carolina just before the 1996 season and in his third year there caught 69 passes for 1,024 yards and eight touchdowns.

Ismail signed with the Cowboys as a free agent in 1999, and had his best NFL season with 80 catches for 1,097 yards and six TDs.

Now in his 10th NFL season, he has 363 catches for 5,295 yards (14.6 yards per catch).