UPDATE (Monday, 1:30 p.m.): Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee is expected to miss 3-4 weeks with a hamstring injury suffered Sunday night against the Saints, per multiple reports. The news was first reported by Matt Mosley of FOX Sports Southwest.
Asked Sunday night how concerned he was about Lee's injury, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones replied, "very."
"We obviously missed him and will miss him if we don’t have him when we go forward.”
Dallas gave up 625 yards -- and an NFL-record 40 first downs -- in a 49-17 loss to the Saints Sunday night.
Even when DeMarcus Ware is healthy and on the field, there's a pretty good case that the Dallas Cowboys have no more valuable defender than Sean Lee. Through the first nine games of the 2013 season, per Pro Football Focus, Lee led all inside linebackers in run stops with 36, and only Houston's Brian Cushing had a higher stop percentage per play. And in pass coverage, Lee has few rivals -- he is one of the most frequently-targeted linebackers in pass coverage, and he has picked off four passes this season, allowing 33 catches in 44 total targets.
Sadly, the Cowboys will once again find out just how much Lee's absence will affect their defense. In the second quarter of Dallas' Sunday Night Football game against the New Orleans Saints, Lee left the field with a left hamstring injury. NBC's Michele Tafoya reported that Lee was done for the night, and that his helmet had already been taken away from him as he walked to the locker room.
For Lee, who was selected by the Cowboys in the second round of the 2010 draft out of Penn State, injuries have been a fairly common narrative. He has never played a full 16 games in a season, and missed all but five games in 2012 with a torn toe ligament. Despite this risk/reward aspect of his game, the Cowboys rewarded Lee for his excellence when he can play with a six-year, $42 million contract extension in August. The Cowboys are also without defensive tackle Jason Hatcher, who has a neck injury. Ware, who is trying to come back from a quadriceps injury, has struggled so far.