Sport - National
Dallas LT Adams lost for season, WR Crayton out a month
IRVING, Texas (AP) _ The Dallas Cowboys learned Monday that left tackle Flozell Adams is out for the season with a torn knee ligament, a major blow to an offensive line that's been a big reason for the success of quarterback Drew Bledsoe.
Bledsoe's supporting cast took another hit with news that receiver Patrick Crayton, who played college football at Northwestern Oklahoma, is out at least a month with an ankle injury. However, it's not broken, which is what coach Bill Parcells feared Sunday following a 16-13 overtime victory against the New York Giants.
The Cowboys can replace Crayton with Peerless Price, essentially swapping a new Bledsoe favorite with an old one. Replacing Adams won't be that simple.
The front-runner is Torrin Tucker, who lost his job as the starting right tackle in training camp to sixth-round pick Rob Petitti and hadn't even made it onto the field with the offense until Adams was hurt in the first half Sunday.
Parcells evaluated Tucker's performance as ``some good, some bad.'' There's little choice, though, as he's the only backup tackle on the roster.
``That's the best recourse we have,'' Parcells said. ``He knows the system.''
Asked how comfortable he'd be with Tucker, Parcells said: ``I would let you know that in two or three weeks.''
Left tackle is considered the most important lineman because he protects the quarterback's blind side. That's especially important with Bledsoe, who has taken advantage of his solid protection to become the NFC's top-rated quarterback.
Parcells said he'll consider moving another lineman to that spot, but doesn't like that idea because then he'd have the dilemma of replacing them. He'd rather plug someone in at left tackle to avoid disrupting the rest of the line.
``That would be the easiest thing to do, if you had that option,'' he said.
Should he consider moving people around, his top options are left guard Larry Allen and Petitti. Allen made the Pro Bowl at left tackle in 1998 and Petitti played there in college.
The club has invited several tackles for a workout. Dallas also has until Tuesday afternoon to make a trade.
``You've got to make do,'' Parcells said. ``You've got to figure out something. We'll try to do it.''
The 6-foot-7, 335-pound Adams blossomed into a Pro Bowler in his first season under Parcells and made it back last season.
Crayton was having a breakout season as the third option behind Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn, catching 18 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns. He also was the punt returner, averaging 7.8 yards.
``If Peerless can fill in and do as well as Patrick, then I'll be very happy,'' Parcells said.
Crayton was hurt after catching a 10-yard pass to start overtime. An X-ray showed a bone fragment around the ankle, but Parcells said doctors think it may be left from a high school injury.
``Then really what he has is a bad ankle sprain,'' Parcells said. ``If that's the case, they would probably scope the ankle quickly, take the little chips or fragments out that he has. ...That would be certainly not season-ending and might be around a month or so. We're kind of rooting for that.''
The injury provides the opportunity Price has needed to get into the game plan.
Signed a few days before the opener, he has one catch for minus-1 yards and plenty of game-day inactives. Now he and Bledsoe will have a better chance to rekindle the connection they developed in Buffalo in 2002.
``I feel like I can help us win games,'' Price said.
Price also will be a candidate to replace Crayton on punt returns, too, as are Terence Newman and Marion Barber.
Before the injury news, the talk in the locker room Monday was about Dallas (4-2) being atop the NFC East.
There wasn't much back-patting, though, partly because it's so early but also because of how sloppy the Cowboys were in Sunday's victory. Dallas lost four turnovers, missed two kicks and allowed a tying touchdown with 19 seconds left in regulation.
``We're playing decent football right now,'' receiver Keyshawn Johnson said. ``We're not playing great football by any stretch of the imagination. And decent football is only going to get you so far. We've got to eventually get good, then get great.''
Extra points: Parcells said Adams may have torn his ACL the first time he went down. ``Once he went back in he couldn't push on the guy too much,'' he said. ... OL Kurt Vollers can't be re-signed because he received an injury settlement when released in training camp. ... Parcells said he won't know until Wednesday whether RB Julius Jones (ankle) will return to practice. As for how his replacements did Sunday, the coach said he was ``hoping for a little more than what we got.''