Cowboys want Lee around during rehab

IRVING, Texas -- With Sean Lee undergoing knee surgery Thursday, Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett does not want the middle linebacker to be out of sight, out of mind.

“Sean’s had injuries in the past and he’s been on injured reserve and not been one of the members of the 53-man roster and he’s been in meetings at 7:30 in the morning throughout the season,” Garrett said. “He’s just one of those guys who wants to contribute. He wants to help our football team anyway he can. First and foremost for him is getting that knee better. That’s the No. 1 thing he has to do every time he wakes up in the morning, but he’s such a positive person, such a positive influence on everybody around him, coaches and players alike, that we want him around as much as we can have him around.”

Lee had surgery on Thursday to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and small meniscus tear in his left knee. The Cowboys have yet to determine Lee’s status for the rest of the season. Lee tore his right ACL in spring practice his senior year at Penn State and suffered a partial ACL tear in his left knee in his fifth year.

“It’s going to take some time,” Garrett said. “We all understand that. He understands that. He’s been down this road before. He’s as mentally tough a guy as I’ve ever been around. He has as much passion for this game and for being great in this game as anybody I’ve ever been around, so those are all really positive things for his rehab. ... We’re going to be aggressive, more aggressive than the common citizen, but having said that we’ve got to make sure we give him the right time.”

Years ago, Garrett said, ACL injuries ended players’ careers. Medical technology has advanced to the point where coming back from the injury is not as problematic.

“Sean’s the kind of guy who’s going to do everything he can to get himself back, and I’m convinced he’ll be back stronger than ever,” Garrett said.