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Cowboys expect Orton at minicamp

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jun 13 2014 10:15:26 AM CDT
Updated On: Jun 13 2014 11:23:56 AM CDT
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NFL

IRVING, Texas --Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he expects backup quarterback Kyle Orton to attend next week's mandatory minicamp because he faces daily fines, which would total $69,455 for the three days.

"I haven't spoken with him directly," Garrett said Thursday. "I'm trying to get with him. He's trying to get with me. And hopefully we have a good conversation."

Garrett and Orton share the same agent, David Dunn.

While saying they anticipate Orton will take part in the three-day minicamp (June 17-19), the Cowboys do not know for certain that the backup quarterback will show.

Orton, 31, skipped the voluntary offseason program, including the 10 days of organized team activities while contemplating his future. He would have to repay the Cowboys $3 million of his $5 million signing bonus if he retires. He is scheduled to make $3.25 million this season.

Meanwhile, starting quarterback Tony Romo told the team's website this week that he could play in a game now if he was needed in an attempt to put a positive spin on his rehab from back December back surgery.

Romo has been limited in the offseason program and minicamp as a precaution. Romo says he is ahead of schedule and ready to go. But the Cowboys are going to continue to play it safe and keep in him out of rigorous activity until training camp in July.

What that means is the Cowboys are not going to ramp up Romo's activity very much next week in the mandatory minicamp. He has done some individual drills and some light throwing in OTAs and that will continue at minicamp.

"We'll take him day by day like we do with all the other guys. But I wouldn't see it changing it dramatically," Garrett said Tuesday when the final week of OTAs began.

Meanwhile there is actually news at positions other than quarterback.

Linebacker Sean Lee had surgery on Thursday to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and, as usual on the day of such a surgery, it was declared successful.

"He had surgery this morning and by all accounts the surgery went well," Garrett said. "I talked to Sean extensively about it yesterday. He feels good about it and got him all cleaned up, and he'll be back and doing his rehab before you know it and he'll be back on the playing field before you know it."

Lee suffered the potentially season-ending knee injury on the first day of organized team activities on May 27.

Garrett said the Cowboys will wait until after all camps are completed to determine Lee's status for the season. They could put him on injured reserve or they could just let him rehab and place him on the physically unable to perform list in hopes of returning in late November or early December.

The typical rehab time for a torn ACL is seven to nine months.

"There's certainly an allocated amount of time that it takes for guys to heal, coming back from these kinds of injuries," Garrett said. "Sean's going to come in here every day and do everything he can to get himself back. It's going to take some time. We all understand that. He understands that. He's been down this road before. But you've heard me say this before: He's as mentally tough a guy I've ever been around. He has as much passion for this game and for being great in this game as anybody I've ever been around. So those are all positive things for his rehab.

"You obviously don't want to push these things. Anybody who's got an injury, whatever that injury is, you want to make sure that you rehab the right way every day and you follow the prescribed time table. We're going to be aggressive, more aggressive than the common citizen, but having said that, we've got to make sure we give him the necessary time."

This is not Lee's first experience with a major knee surgery. Lee tore his right ACL in April 2008 while at Penn State, then partially tore his left ACL during the 2009 season.

Lee has never played a full season since joining the Cowboys as a second round pick out of Penn State in 2010, missing 18 games in his career. A strained hamstring and a sprained neck kept him out of five games last season, forcing the Cowboys to use three players to replace him because of injury: Justin Durant, Ernie Sims and DeVonte Holloman.

At least this time the Cowboys have the offseason and training camp to try to find a replacement.

Durant, a veteran, is currently running with the first team with rookie fourth round pick Anthony Hitchens backing him up. Holloman, who has been held out of OTAs and minicamp because of injury, will also get a look in the middle in training camp.

The Cowboys will wait until after next week's minicamp to decide if they need to sign a veteran to compete for the job in training camp.

Lee never had his 2009 injury repaired. Because of that, head athletic trainer Jim Maurer said Lee will return stronger.

"I have already told him, 'We're going to be fine,' " Maurer said. "You're going to play for six more years. This ACL, we're going to get this fixed."