Dallas Cowboys

Lawrence to undergo back surgery; Thornton has shoulder surgery

DeMarcus Lawrence will undergo back surgery for a second straight off-season.
DeMarcus Lawrence will undergo back surgery for a second straight off-season. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence will undergo back surgery for a second consecutive off-season, executive vice president Stephen Jones said.

A date has yet to be set for Lawrence’s surgery and Jones didn’t want to get into much detail regarding it during Senior Bowl practices on Tuesday.

“I’m not comfortable talking about people’s medical conditions until we release it,” Jones said. “So just don’t get into all of that. … We’re not worried about any of them, let’s put it that way.”

Lawrence, who turns 25 in April, recorded only one sack in nine regular-season games. He was suspended the first four games for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, and sat out the final three games managing his back injury.

Lawrence was credited with 13 quarterback pressures by the coaching staff, which ranked fourth on the team. He also had two tackles in the divisional-round playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones discussed several topics, ranging from discovering Dak Prescott at the Senior Bowl to his Hall of Fame chances next week. Video by Drew Davison.

It was a disappointing season for Lawrence, who led the team with eight sacks in 2015. But the Cowboys remain optimistic on Lawrence, although improving the pass rush remains a priority this offseason.

“We know we’ll have DeMarcus Lawrence back, we know we have quite a few players coming back, but we still feel like we’ve got to improve,” Jones said.

Along with Lawrence, fellow defensive lineman Cedric Thornton also needed off-season surgery. Thornton has already had his shoulder operated on, Jones said.

Jones does not believe left tackle Tyron Smith or kicker Dan Bailey will require offseason surgeries after each managed back issues throughout the season.

Outside of Lawrence and Thornton, Jones said “there’ll be more” players who have off-season procedures but declined to specify them.

Rookies Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott emerge as stars during an 11-game win streak, leading to a 13-3 regular-season record. But a gut-wrenching divisional-round loss to the Packers kept the Cowboys from advancing in the post season.

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