News: ESPN: Dinapoli Hurt

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by Hostile, Jul 15, 2004.

  1. Hostile

    Hostile The Duke

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    Wednesday, July 14, 2004

    By Len Pasquarelli

    Cowboys center Gennaro DiNapoli, who was expected to compete for the starting job, will instead have to overcome an injury that could sideline him for the start of training camp and perhaps jeopardize his chances of making the roster.

    Tests revealed that DiNapoli, a six-year veteran who re-signed with Dallas early in the free agent period, has a stress fracture in his right ankle. The injury likely will keep DiNapoli out for at least the first full week of training camp, which begins July 31 in Oxnard, Calif.

    DiNapoli, 29, began to experience discomfort in the ankle in early June during minicamp. When the pain continued, further tests were recommended by the Dallas medical staff, and those exams revealed the stress fracture.

    Typical recovery time for such an injury is about four to six weeks.

    The injury leaves third-year pro Tyson Walter and second-year veteran Al Johnson to vie for the starting job. All three centers had worked with the first-unit offense during Dallas' offseason sessions.

    A sixth-round draft choice in 2002, Walter has appeared in 26 games with eight starts in two seasons. The former Ohio State standout didn't log a single start, however, last season. Johnson, a second-round pick from Wisconsin in 2003, had actually won the starting job at the beginning of camp last summer. But he suffered a knee injury early in camp, underwent "microfracture" surgery, and missed his entire rookie season.

    Cowboys coaches are said to admire Johnson's toughness and he probably is the favorite now going into camp. The roster also includes Matt Lehr, who started all 16 contests at center last year, but the Cowboys prefer he play guard in 2004.

    Dallas signed DiNapoli late last summer and he appeared as a reserve in seven games before going onto injured reserve with cartilage damage to his knee and a high ankle sprain. DiNapoli became a free agent at year's end, but signed a two-year, $1.55 million contract, which included a signing bonus of $350,000, with the Cowboys this spring.

    He has played in 39 games, with 27 starts, and the Cowboys re-signed him in large part because he represented an experienced insurance policy at the position.
  2. Eddie

    Eddie Well-Known Member

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    This leaves us alittle thin at Center. I don't trust Tyson Walter to a full season at Center. If that happens, we're dead meat.

    Lehr can backup at Center also, but he's no better than a 3rd stringer.

    Are there any other veteran Center options out there??? There's no guarantee Al Johnson's season ending injury from last year is fully healed. :eek:
  3. Portland Fanatic

    Portland Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    No need to he misses TC...he'll be ready by 2nd or 3rd week of season. Big Al will start. If Tyson takes some snaps it will only be a few unless Al goes down. Di will not be out that long, so no need to panic and get another C.
  4. AdamJT13

    AdamJT13 Salary Cap Analyst

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    Lehr was better than DiNapoli last season, and he's definitely better than Walter. If DiNapoli's injury is a factor, Lehr will be back in the mix at center.
  5. TheSkaven

    TheSkaven Last Man Standing Zone Supporter

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    I was about to same the same and you beat me to it. Let's just hope that it's not an omen of things to come - we can ill afford any more injuries along the offensive line.
  6. Tio

    Tio Armchair QB

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    This hurts our depth considerably. Dinapoli was solid when he was rotating with lehr. With lehr going back to center, we have no reliable backup for allen and gurode. If either of them gets injured for 2 or 3 games we are screwed. We are lucky that he gets back soon.

    One thing i like to comment on, is we probably have some of the best depth in our front seven and oline...
  7. Hollywood Henderson

    Hollywood Henderson Benched

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    I disagree, I think Dino is better then Lehr is or ever will be...I doubt Lehr even makes the team this year...Dino just needed to learn the offense and he would have ended up starting last year (after Johnson's injury) IMHO...Afterall at least he started for the Tits, when making actual holes for Eddie George...I have yet to see Lehr make any holes in the running game what so ever...Decent pass blocker though...Too small to play OG too...His days are numbered...

    Dimingo Graham is the depth a OG, he also has many starts in his resume...Providing good quality depth...

    Walters isn't a starter, but at least he is smart and has started before and he would be fine for a game or 2 if neccesary...
  8. Jimz31

    Jimz31 The Sarcastic One

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    I don't see how this hurts our depth. We still have MORE than 4-6 weeks till the season begins. I'm sure he'll stay in shape and recover fully from this injury.

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