Galloway done for the year; Aikman, Cunningham questionable

Tuesday, September 5th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

IRVING, Texas-Joey Galloway was supposed to be the guy who turns around the Dallas Cowboys. Instead, his knee injury has turned things upside down.

Tests Monday revealed a torn ligament in the wide receiver's left knee that will require season-ending surgery. Making matters worse, quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Randall Cunningham are listed as questionable for Sunday night's game in Arizona.

Aikman suffered his ninth career concussion in the second quarter of Sunday's 41-14 loss in the opener against Philadelphia. The Eagles mauled him all nine times he tried to throw, resulting in four sacks and five incompletions.

Aikman was still feeling dizzy and having headaches Monday. If his symptoms continue Tuesday, it's highly unlikely he would play Sunday.

"Let me be sure we're clear about one thing: I'm not interested in any way of jeopardizing his long-term well-being," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. "If you think I'm sitting here pushing him to get back out there on behalf of winning a ball game, the answer is no."

Cunningham, who missed four preseason games because of shoulder problems, hurt the thumb on his throwing hand when he hit it against a defender. On Monday, while squeezing a glob of Silly Putty borrowed from his kids, he said he expects to be ready.

Jones said he's looking into bringing in another quarterback, preferably a veteran. He already plans to put Galloway on injured reserve and activate rookie Clint Stoerner off the practice squad. Galloway, incidentally, was Dallas' third quarterback.

Galloway's receiving skills made him the centerpiece of the Cowboys' offseason overhaul of its offense. To get him, Jones gave Seattle two first-round draft picks and signed the speedster to a $42 million, seven-year contract.

Galloway caught four passes for 62 yards in the opener, including a 4-yarder in the fourth quarter for the Cowboys' lone touchdown. He was hurt on Dallas' third-to-last snap. Jones said he had no problem with Galloway still being in the game, even though running back Emmitt Smith was long gone.

Galloway had a similar injury two games into his sophomore year at Ohio State in 1992.

"He's distressed about it, very down," Jones said. "But he basically told the doctor and told me there's no issue about rehabbing from this so he can play next year."

Aikman's health is much more of a concern. This is his third concussion in his last nine games and with each one comes the question of how many more can _ or will _ he take.

The cumulative effect of concussions has ended many careers, most recently Steve Young. A generation earlier, Roger Staubach called it quits after concussions were coming too easily, although he was 38.

"I think Troy is astute enough, smart enough to know when he can get on the field and perform at his best and whether he's at risk," Smith said. "He's going to need all the professional advice he can get and make the decision for himself."

Last season, Aikman, 33, suffered a concussion early in a game in Indianapolis and returned. He played the next week and a relatively light blow gave him a second concussion. He sat out the next two weeks.

Jones said doctors consider the latest concussion less severe than the one against the Colts.

The injuries are only part of the Cowboys' problems.

Both lines looked horrible in the opener, resulting in five sacks and 306 yards rushing allowed, the most in team history. The 27-point loss tied their worst in 41 home openers and they've already matched their number of home losses last season.

"We knew we were going to have some adversity during the season," safety Darren Woodson said. "We didn't expect it to happen so soon."