Cowboys owner/doctor Jerry Jones proclaimed Sunday evening that right tackle Marc Colombo would be out for the season with a fractured fibula, but the club has backtracked a bit this afternoon. Colombo, who has become a mainstay at right tackle since Bill Parcells revived his career, will undergo surgery today to repair ligaments in his left ankle.
He also has a fracture in his fibula that will not require surgery. The Cowboys are holding out hope that Colombo could return in time for the playoffs. The Cowboys have said recovery time for the broken fibula is six weeks. Now the Cowboys have to figure out who will replace Colombo on the right side.
It looks like '07 fourth-round pick Doug Free will get the first crack at the job, although coach Wade Phillips would not commit to that scenario Monday. Free was considered a candidate to eventually replace Flozell Adams when he was drafted, but he's not exactly breathing down Adams' neck. Anther possibility would be '06 seventh-round pick Pat McQuistan, who hasn't made much progress in his four years with the team. The Cowboys brought in McQuistan's twin brother, Paul, for a workout recently but they didn't sign him. Paul wasn't able to stick with Tom Cable's outfit in Oakland.
And let me give you one last option. Leonard Davis could slide over to right tackle from his right guard spot. Davis played right tackle for at least a season with the Cardinals -- and hated every minute of it. The Cowboys have enjoyed a long stretch of good health along their offensive line. Now, they get to join the Eagles and Redskins in trying to fill a gaping hole.
Colombo's the toughest player on the team -- bar none. Former offensive line coach Tony Sparano used to tell me that Colombo would take every player on the team in a street fight. Alas, the new commissioner has continued to limit NFL streetfighting.