No one was more scared when Zack Martin went down in practice Tuesday than Zack Martin. The second-year offensive guard experienced numbness and a burning sensation down his arm.
“Yeah, absolutely [it was scary], especially when you’ve never had that before,” Martin said Thursday.
Martin regained his strength by the time he reached the training camp. He was diagnosed with a stinger, which will keep him out until at least after the preseason game against San Francisco on Sunday.
“I’m just going to do what they tell me to do and hopefully be back before you know it,” Martin said.
Martin was hit in the side of the helmet by a St. Louis Rams safety during the joint practice.
“I could have kept my head up for sure,” Martin said. “It’s definitely a learning experience there. Just get better and get out there.”
Martin, the 16th overall pick last season, earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors his first year. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said the right guard has gotten even better since.
“Zack is one of those guys, I can say this to you honestly, he gets better each and every day,” Garrett said. “The ability that he has, and much more important, the approach that he takes. You saw that last year: Once he was drafted and got into the OTAs and offseason program, he was really excellent right from the start. You can just see it. He’s someone that strives to get better in each opportunity he gets. He certainly did that coming off of last year and getting back into the offseason program, throughout the offseason and up to this point. He’s a damn good football player at this point in his career, and I think we all know that. What makes him really special is his desire to be a great player. And he works on it every day.”
Four of the Cowboys’ starting offensive linemen, including Martin, are nursing injuries. Left tackle Tyron Smith has a biceps injury that will keep him out until at least Monday; left guard Ron Leary remains out with a back injury; and off-season foot surgery has slowed right tackle Doug Free some.
Garrett would not say whether the injuries to the offensive line threaten to keep quarterback Tony Romo out of the lineup Sunday.
“I don’t want to get into the specifics of the preseason games,” Garrett said. “Obviously, we value preseason games. There are only four of them. They are really important to our football team. We believe in practice. We believe in using these preseason games as an opportunity to grow individually and as a team. We’ll take it case by case. We’ll determine what’s best for the player, what’s best for our team and we’ll make those decisions here in the next couple of days.”