By Tim Polzer
December 13, 2012

The Cowboys' already thin defensive front will continue to be without four-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff, possibly for the remainder of the regular season. Ian Rapoport of reports Ratliff had surgery Thursday morning for a sport hernia in Philadelphia. He's expected to need three-to-six weeks to recover.

Ratliff has suffered through an injury-plagued season, missing the first four games of 2012 with a high ankle sprain, then the last six games with the sports hernia.

Ratliff's inability to get back on the field led to a heated confrontation with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in the locker room following a win over the Eagles on Dec. 2. Ratliff did not react well to Jones' encouragement to return to action.

The Cowboys were previously hit hard at nose tackle this week, with Ratliff's replacement, Josh Brent, being placed on the reserve/non-football illness list, ending his season in the wake of his arrest for intoxicated manslaughter after a one-car accident Saturday morning that left teammate and friend Jerry Brown Jr. dead.

The Cowboys signed former Cleveland Browns nose tackle Brian Schaefering to fill Brent's roster spot.

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