The Dallas Cowboys will be without starting right tackle Doug Free for 3-4 weeks, owner and general manager Jerry Jones said on his KRLD-FM radio show Tuesday.
Jones said Free has been diagnosed with a fractured right foot and the timeline puts it at 3-4 weeks. That would put the earliest return date for Free on Nov. 9 when the Cowboys play the Jaguars in London, however, they have a bye that following week. So the Cowboys could give Free additional time by simply keeping him out until after the bye and bringing him back for the Nov. 23 game at the Giants.
Jeremy Parnell, who is dealing with a rib injury, is expected to replace Free as the starting right tackle. The only other tackle on the 53-man roster is Donald Hawkins. Rookie guard Zack Martin also has experience at tackle, playing there in college. But Jones said the Cowboys are comfortable with Parnell stepping in.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence in him,” Jones said. “Although I don’t want to take anything away from Doug Free, his leadership, he’s the daddy in that offensive line room, and he’s also playing very well this year. But Parnell is capable of coming in and playing real well, too. He’s got a lot of talent. He’s just got to not make mistakes.
“Right now, Parnell is our answer. And a good one.”
In other injury news, Jones said he wouldn’t rule out linebacker Bruce Carter (quadriceps) for this week’s game against the Giants.