By Clarence E. Hill Jr.
Irving _ In a perfect example of the leadership and attitude the Cowboys will miss on the field, linebacker Sean Lee talked to the media Thursday for the first time since it was revealed he must undergo season-ending toe surgery and was placed on injured reserve.
Lee _ the team leader in tackles and the quarterback of the defense, who was arguably en route to a Pro Bowl season _ is disappointed but doesn’t feel sorry for himself.
He says he will be back better than ever next season but in the interim will help his teammates as much as he can and believes they can still improve and have a successful season without him.
"It was frustrating because you want to be out there," Lee said. "You want to play, you put a lot of work in and I love playing with the team, my teammates and love playing on Sunday for the Dallas Cowboys. It’s one of those things. It’s part of the game. You have to be positive because if you’re negative you’re not going to get any better. My view is you’ve got to take the next step and that’s just working on getting better."
Lee said he initially didn't think the injury was that serious but that was before his foot swelled up on him the Monday after the Panthers game. "I didn’t think it was going to be great because it got worse and worse as I got out of the game but I didn’t think it was going to something that I’d be out for the rest of the season, especially with the way it happened, a fluke play where trying to make a tackle, their tight end lands on my foot as I’m driving, falls over the pile, bends my toe all the way back to my foot," Lee said. "One of those things where you’re trying to make a tackle and can’t really avoid it so it’s frustrating in the sense that your toe could keep you out a whole year."
Lee said there was no way around the surgery as it was the only for him to guarantee it been corrected and not becoming a chronic problem going forward. He will be sidelined three to four months after the surgery but should be ready to go by February and will be full go when the off season program begins in March.
"What happens is the toe bones move that are in the toe," Lee said. "And any time the bones move they have to move them back, basically put them in place. Then you have to let them set for a couple of months. So whenever they do that it’s pretty fragile and you have to keep in certain positions for a month or toe then it's getting it strong again and getting your body back in shape which will probably take a month. They said three to four months."
Lee won't be on the field but he's not going anyway as he plans on doing whatever he can to help his teammates, namely Bruce Carter who will take over the play calling and Dan Connor who will replace him in the starting lineup.
"If I disconnect I’m not part of the team at
all," Lee said. "If I can help in any small way, it’s still helping.
I believe this defense is going to continue to get better and that’s the thing
I want t to be a part of it. We’ve got so many talented, high character
guys on defense and to be honest I’m so excited to see Bruce
Carter and Dan Connor play because those guys got better and better and better and are ready to step up and I believe this defense is
going to continue to get better."