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Cowboys Pro Bowl Punter Mat McBriar Can't Plant. That's A Problem

One of this week's quieter injuries is in danger of doing serious damage to the team's special teams performance moving forward.

Pro Bowl punter Mat McBriar is suffering from what the team is calling "drop foot", and the injury isn't improving. The left, plant foot is suffering some sort of nerve damage, and there has to be growing concern that this is a major deal. As anyone who witnessed his punt attempts in Philadelphia on Sunday night knows, McBriar is now on week 2 of being able to punt effectively. Dallas brought in a backup punter and stashed him on the practice squad last week. Today, the Cowboys signed Chris Jones to the active roster. Uh oh.

Foot drop, sometimes called drop foot, is a general term for difficulty lifting the front part of the foot. If you have foot drop, you may drag the front of your foot on the ground when you walk.

Foot drop isn't a disease. Rather, foot drop is a sign of an underlying neurological, muscular or anatomical problem.

Sometimes foot drop is temporary. In other cases, foot drop is permanent. If you have foot drop, you may need to wear a brace on your ankle and foot to hold your foot in a normal position.

--Mayo Clinic

To this point, no team official has discussed the severity of McBriar's version of the injury, but you would expect to hear something soon. McBriar has yet to be ruled out of tomorrow's game against the Seattle Seahawks, but unless the Cowboys feel egotistically overconfident we don't think they are going into the game with four kickers.

The extent of McBriar's specific situation isn't currently known, but if he is out for an extended period of time the Cowboys would be missing one of their weapons. I know, he's a punter. McBriar however is much more than his 45.7 career punting average. Dallas led the league in net punt average last year and has been in the top 10 in 2007 and 2009. McBriar missed the majority of the 2008 season and the Cowboys dropped to 22nd in the league in this category.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.