ARLINGTON, Texas — Arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday revealed that Dallas Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens‘ right ACL is intact.

Hitchens was diagnosed with a tibial plateau fracture in his right knee after getting hurt in last week’s preseason game against the Oakland Raiders. While an MRI did not show an ACL tear, the Cowboys wanted to make sure it was strong, which is why Hitchens underwent the scope.

He was given an eight-week recovery period, but executive vice president Stephen Jones said “it could be reduced from that, but we’ll see.”

Hitchens is the Cowboys’ starting middle linebacker. In his absence, the Cowboys will rely on Jaylon Smith and Justin Durant to take his place. Smith is coming back from a serious knee injury of his own that cost him his rookie year. Durant was signed before training camp began and has taken team snaps only in the last week.

With 53-man roster cuts coming Saturday, the Cowboys still have to determine whether they want to keep Hitchens on the 53-man roster or have him start the year on injured reserve. If he is placed on injured reserve, he would be able to begin practice after six weeks and play after eight weeks, which would mean he could return Nov. 5 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

“He had an amazing training camp and now we know that he’s going to hope to get back on the field sooner rather than later,” Jones said. “Obviously we feared the worst and it was one of those few times it turns out better. More than anything we’re happy for Hitch because he’s been one of the leaders and certainly in my mind had one of the better training camps of any player we had on our team.”


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