Five years into his NFL career, Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl guard Zach Martin will miss a game for the first time in his life today.
Martin, a native of Indianapolis, will miss his homecoming in the Cowboys’ road tilt against the Colts with a sprained MCL in his left knee, according to ESPN. He has never missed a game in his NFL career, nor his illustrious four-year college career at Notre Dame, nor a high school game at Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis, nor a little league or pee wee game growing up. It is a truly remarkable record of durability in today’s game, where players are bigger and faster than ever.
Martin is widely considered to be one of the top five offensive linemen in the NFL, so the injury will be a big loss for Dallas. Martin will be replaced in the starting lineup by Connor Williams, the team’s first-round draft pick out of Texas, who has struggled during his rookie season and was recently benched.
Martin suffered the knee injury in the game against Philadelphia last week, when he was unable to walk off the field under his own power. Doctors determined that Martin would not need surgery, but that the injury would require rest if Martin hoped to play again later this season. Martin has apparently campaigned to remain active and play through the injury, but Dallas has elected to take the more cautious approach with their young star.
Zack Martin won’t play Sunday for the first time in his 5-year Cowboys career pic.twitter.com/JSkUpbvlTE
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) December 14, 2018
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that Martin’s injury was “similar” to the one that he has been playing through, according to Dallas News beat writer Jon Machota on Twitter. Recent protocol has been to hold Martin out of practice during the week to allow him some time to heal, then inevitably he returns to the starting lineup for the game.
“We, right now, don’t see anything structurally or specific,” Jones said. “We don’t see anything that’s different from the last time he hurt it with his MCL.”
Martin originally injured his knee in the Cowboys November game against Philadelphia six weeks ago during a run by Ezekiel Elliott when teammate La’el Collins blocked Philadelphia’s Chris Long into the back of Martin’s leg, according to CowboysWire. Martin went down writing in pain, as center Joe Looney took off his helmet and kneeled next to his fallen teammate while waving in medical personnel from the sideline. Martin was sent to the medical tent that day and did not return to the game.