FRISCO - Back on Dec. 7, the Dallas Cowboys placed All-Pro offensive lineman Zack Martin on injured reserve, and smart speculation was that might be done for the 2020 NFL season due to his a calf injury.
After all, the three-week IR would eat up most of his in-season chance to return. Plus, at the time, Dallas was 3-8, a week away from losing at Baltimore and falling to 3-9.
So what would be the point of him returning to the field?
"I'm dubious that he can be there this week,'' Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told us on Tuesday morning on 105.3 The Fan. "But I’m not (dubious) about the future weeks. We’ve got a chance in the future. He can and will be a dramatic upgrade."
Martin himself, of course, has always seen the point, and now, with Dallas having won three straight to propel itself into Sunday's Week 17 maybe-pre-playoff game at the New York Giants, team sources have told CowboysSI.com that Martin will spent this week working toward being back in the lineup. ... if not this week, then if and when Dallas qualifies for the NFL Playoffs.
Coach Mike McCarthy had said Martin would miss "multiple weeks." That much has been true. But something else has happened over the course of these "multiple weeks.'' In Week 17, a Dallas win at the Giants (in a noon CT) game combined with a Washington Football Team loss to Philadelphia would make the Cowboys a 7-9 NFC East division winner, in which case AT&T Stadium would host a first-round NFL playoff game.
Martin, a likely future Hall-of-Famer, has long been a Cowboys iron man. Before this season, he'd missed just three games in his entire career. This season, he's been nagged by not only the calf problem but by other issues as well, but he played at a Pro Bowl level at right guard, as always, and then when other O-line injuries necessitated a move to right tackle, he did the same thing there in a win against Minnesota.
The Cowboys medical staff won't put Martin on the field if there is risk of a serious re-injury to his calf. And they probably already know something, knowledge that caused Jerry Jones to call a quick return "unlikely.'' But Zack Martin will work toward a goal - just as his Cowboys will do.