Orlando Scandrick’s season is over before it started after the Dallas cornerback tore two ligaments in his right knee in practice at training camp Tuesday.
A person with knowledge of the injury told The Associated Press that an MRI exam revealed tears to the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the injury.
Video showed Scandrick’s leg bending awkwardly under rookie receiver Lucky Whitehead at the end of a play in Oxnard, California. Scandrick, who was carted off the field, had recently returned to practice after sitting out with soreness in his left knee.
“He said immediately, ‘It’s my ACL. I know it. It’s gone,'” secondary coach Jerome Henderson said.
The other defensive backs formed a circle for a prayer when practice ended.
“I heard it in his voice,” said cornerback Morris Claiborne, a top-10 pick in 2012 who has had injury issues, including a torn patellar tendon in his left knee that limited him to four games last year. “After just sitting there and looking at him and just holding his hand, squeezing. I know that feeling.”
Whitehead said he bent down when he thought Scandrick was going to hit him as the receiver came out of a route.
“I kind of felt it,” Whitehead said. “I heard him make a noise.”
Scandrick became the team’s best cornerback as Brandon Carr struggled in coverage the past two seasons and Claiborne underperformed when he made it to the field. The eighth-year player has 48 starts among his 102 games, with a career-high two interceptions each of the past two seasons.
His injury will test a position that has much more depth than it did going into training camp last year. The Cowboys picked up fourth-year player Corey White on waivers from New Orleans, and he has been solid in camp along with undrafted second-year player Tyler Patmon.
Dallas also drafted Byron Jones in the first round this year.
“It’s next man up if he is out,” Henderson said of Scandrick. “You hate that it happens to such a great player. We have to keep moving.”
Tony Romo was among several Cowboys who tweeted their support of Scandrick not long after practice ended. “Sending prayers out to Orlando Scandrick,” Romo wrote. “Fear he has a torn acl. Your (sic) the best bud.”
The Cowboys have brought Claiborne along slowly in camp, keeping him out of both preseason games even though he reported to California much further along than expected in his recovery. And Jones returned to practice Tuesday after an injury earlier in camp to his left shoulder, the same one that required surgery when he was at Connecticut.
“Injuries are a part of football, but it’s an awful feeling when it happens to one of your guys,” Jones said. “I just hope the best for him. He’s a veteran, been here a long time. He was looking forward to the season.”
All-Pro receiver Dez Bryant had his most extensive work at practice since injuring a hamstring Aug. 2. He missed the offseason in a contract stalemate with the Cowboys.
Tuesday’s practice was the first of three this week before the Cowboys break camp ahead of their first home preseason game against Minnesota on Saturday night. That could be Bryant’s only chance to get on the field with Romo before the season opener Sept. 13 at home against the New York Giants.
“There’s a heightened sense of urgency every day,” coach Jason Garrett said earlier Tuesday. “Nothing to do with three days.”