Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys rookie defensive tackle Maliek Collins breaks his foot

The boot sat in front of defensive tackle Maliek Collins’ locker. The rookie broke his right foot last week in what a teammate called a “freak” non-contact play.

Collins underwent surgery and already has begun his rehab. He should return in 10-12 weeks.

“We had surgery on it at the end of last week,” coach Jason Garrett said. “The surgery went well. We anticipate him being back. They’ve given us a number of different times, 10-12 weeks, something like that, right around the start of training camp.”

As a rookie in 2014, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence broke his foot early in training camp. The Cowboys placed him on short-term injured reserve, and he played in only seven games. Last year, rookie defensive end Randy Gregory sprained his ankle in the season opener and missed four games.

Lawrence and Gregory both finished without a sack during the regular season as rookies.

“It happened to Randy last year, the earlier part; it happened to DeMarcus Lawrence,” defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said, “so it does set you back. But if it had to happen, it’s better it happened now. He’s a hard-nosed guy, a good attitude with him; he’s tough, so he’ll bounce back fast I think.”

Collins remains unsigned, the only member of the Cowboys’ draft class not yet to agree to terms. Charles Tapper and Dak Prescott signed Tuesday.

The Cowboys aren’t as thin in the interior of the defensive line as they are at end. They have starters Tyrone Crawford and Cedric Thornton and backup Terrell McClain at defensive tackle. Jack Crawford and David Irving have played tackle and end.

Gregory will serve a four-game suspension to open the season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. Lawrence also has received notice of the same, though he appealed.

“We have a lot of defensive linemen on our team right now, so it gives some of the younger guys and even the veteran guys more snaps,” Garrett said. “Maliek was doing well for us. He was off to a good start. We do anticipate him being back healthy and ready to go.”

The Cowboys had only 28 sacks in 2014 and 31 last season.

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