IRVING -- The Cowboys suffered a devastating setback on Tuesday after MRI results showed ligament damage in linebacker Sean Lee's sprained big toe.
According to a source, Lee will require season-ending surgery to repair the damage.
Lee, in his third year out of Penn State, is the team's leading tackler this season with 77 stops. He also has two tackles for loss, eight pass deflections, a forced fumble and one interception.
Lee missed two games in 2010, his rookie season, because of injuries and another game last season.
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Dan Connor, who signed with the Cowboys in the off-season after four years with Carolina, will start in Lee's place Sunday against the Giants.
Conner also stepped in for Lee against the Panthers, recording two tackles and a pass deflection in the red zone.
Connor said playing the weakside position was an adjustment but that he'd be ready with a little more practice.
"I've mostly been the middle [linebacker] wherever I've been, so it's a little adjustment," Connor said. "That's how the NFL goes. It's a long season. Guys aren't usually able to stay healthy the whole time. It's about getting a role, taking advantage of your role and always being prepared to go in there."
Clarence E. Hill Jr., 817-390-7760