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The biggest "IF" for the Cowboys defense

Dal_i_lee01jr_400OXNARD, California - Of the many Cowboys entering this season with the frightening "If" attached to his trading card, Sean Lee rests at the top. IF IF IF he stays healthy, he is a Pro Bowl middle linebacker.

Can he? Smart money says no. He blew out his ACL in college, and suffered injuries in his first three NFL seasons.

"If you want to be great you have to be on the field. That's something I wasn't last year," Lee said. "Going forward I'm going to try to do everything to try to stay on the field. When it comes to prehab, rehab, making sure I'm fresh. Diet."

Prehab ... is that a word?

"That's a word," he said. "It's, you go in the weight room, do all of the mobility, stretching. Massage. That's all prehab work."

You can't doubt his sincerity, or his intent, but it is best to prepare yourselves that at some point an injury is going to happen again.

"At some point you have to play and if you get injured, you get injured. I've got a track record of being able to come back from any injury and come back better from injuries," Lee said. "That's what I intend on doing. My goal is to be there 16 games. Some of that is out of my control. I'm going to do whatever I can to stay out there."

If Lee is able to play every game, this is a different defense. 

At the time of his injury in '12, he was becoming the most important, and maybe the best, defensive player on this team. Ahead of DeMarcus Ware. Lee had 77 tackles, two tackles for loses, eight QB pressures, one interception, forced a fumble and broke up a pass.

Here is a look at his brief injury history in the NFL.

Fought through hamstring injuries and played in 14 games.

Dislocated his left wrist but still played in 14 games

Suffered a season-ending toe injury in Week 7 and appeared in six games.


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