Sean Lee will miss yet another game with yet another injury, and it might be longer than just one game.
The middle linebacker’s neck injury will keep him out Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, and he won’t return until the sprained ligament fully heals.
“I found out [Thursday] after getting an MRI that I have a little bit more of an issue than it just being muscular in the neck,” Lee said Friday on KRLD/105.3 FM.
Lee injured his neck on the first play of Monday night’s game at Chicago. He ended up playing 47 of the 72 snaps, leaving for good in the third quarter. Lee was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday before missing practice Friday.
“There’s no gray area,” Lee said in the radio interview. “I kind of have to let it heal for me to be able to even do my job. I wouldn’t probably be able to make it through the game until I let it heal. Hopefully, it can heal up faster, and we’ll look at it next week.”
Lee missed two games with a hamstring injury before returning against the Bears. He has missed 15 of a possible 61 games in his career — two games with a hamstring injury as a rookie, one game in 2011 with a dislocated wrist and 10 games last season with a toe injury that required surgery.
Justin Durant, who has missed the past three games with a hamstring injury, will start at middle linebacker. He played 37 of 83 snaps in the middle against the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 10 after Lee went out before leaving with the hamstring injury. Ernie Sims started at middle linebacker against the New York Giants and Oakland Raiders.
“That kind of got my confidence up a little bit,” Durant said Friday of his experience playing the middle against the Saints. “I hadn’t had any game action really at the Mike before that.”
Scandrick gets deal
Cornerback Orlando Scandrick has signed a two-year contract extension through the 2018 season. He signed the deal in November, before the Giants game, but the Cowboys kept it quiet to avoid offending other players seeking long-term deals, according to a source.
Scandrick, who is having his best season in his six seasons since the Cowboys drafted him, gets $9 million more in guaranteed money. Scandrick signed a six-year, $28.2 million deal, with $10 million guaranteed, in 2011.
It gives the Cowboys cap relief over the next two years.
“It made sense for both of us,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said on KRLD-FM on Friday. “When you sign guys to long-term deals, which we did with Orlando about three years ago, the back end of it is usually pretty heavy.
“We were able to restructure something that helped us a lot and also gave Orlando what he wanted to have, which was some security, and of course, it meant a lot for him to stay here in Dallas, so it worked good for everybody.”
Scandrick had $1 million added to his base salary in 2014, upping it to $4.5 million. The Cowboys have the option of turning that into a signing bonus, dropping his cap number for 2014. His base salary in 2014 goes from $5 million to $3 million.
Scandrick, who replaced Morris Claiborne in the starting lineup in Week 2, has been the team’s best cornerback in 2013. He has started 12 games this season, posting career highs in tackles (59), passes defensed (14) and interceptions (2).
The Cowboys will play Sunday’s game without two starting linebackers. Weakside linebacker Bruce Carter (hamstring) will join Lee on the sideline. Receiver Dwayne Harris (hamstring) also will not play.
Claiborne (hamstring) is questionable despite not practicing this week. Claiborne has missed four of the past five games. He had been away part of this week after the death of his father.
Durant (hamstring), defensive tackle Jason Hatcher (neck), linebacker DeVonte Holloman (neck) and linebacker Orie Lemon (personal) are probable. Lemon was not at practice Friday. Durant, Hatcher and Holloman fully participated in practice.
Parking lots for the Packers game open at 10 a.m. Sunday. The plazas open at noon. Stadium gates open at 1 p.m. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:25 p.m.
Staff writer Clarence Hill contributed to this report.