Lance Dunbar tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, and will undergo season-ending surgery, coach Jason Garrett said Monday.
It’s another blow to the Cowboys, as Dunbar had established himself as a competent receiver out of the backfield and on special teams.
Dunbar, 25, injured his knee on the opening kickoff in the second half, getting it twisted awkwardly on the artificial turf. Dunbar also had a partial tear to his medial collateral ligament.
“He’s just one of those guys when the ball is in his hands he does a lot of positive things for your football team,” Garrett said. “He’s a hell of a kid, and he’s got a great future ahead of him. He’s going to come back. He’s going to handle it the right way. He’ll be better than ever.”
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The Cowboys finally found a useful role for Dunbar early on this season in the running and passing game, as well as the primary kickoff returner. He had a team-high 54 rushing yards on three carries Sunday night, for instance.
For the season, Dunbar has 21 catches for 215 yards, ranking second on the team behind Jason Witten.
The Cowboys are always monitoring the market for upgrades, but will likely go with Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden and Christine Michael to fill Dunbar’s void. They could also look at getting receiver Lucky Whitehead more involved.
“Lance was a weapon for us and we tried to use him as a weapon in a lot of different ways to impact our offense and impact the game,” Garrett said. “To say we have someone in house who is going to do those same kinds of things, I don’t know that we have somebody like that, but we have guys in house who can do different things, and hopefully we’ll play to those strengths.”