Jay Ratliff Injury: Updates on Cowboys Star's Groin, Potential Return Date

Ethan GrantAnalyst IAugust 27, 2013

Oct 28, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff (90) during the game against the New York Giants at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys will be without four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jay Ratliff for at least the first six weeks of the 2013 NFL season. 

That news comes as a result of the team placing the 31-year-old on the Reserved/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list on Tuesday. Nick Eatman of DallasCowboys.com was one of the first reporters to break the news on Twitter:

Jay Ratliff has been placed on Reserved/PUP .. He'll be out first six weeks at least

— Nick Eatman (@nickeatman) August 27, 2013

Ratliff has been dealing with hamstring and groin injuries throughout training camp. 

A seventh-round selection of the Cowboys in the 2005 NFL draft, Ratliff had been relatively durable over the first few years of his career. From 2008 to 2011, he started all 16 regular-season games each year and recorded 19.0 sacks as a nose tackle in Dallas' 3-4 scheme during that span. 

2012 was a different story, however, as Ratliff dealt with ankle issues and played in only six contests. To make matters worse, he was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated in January.

Despite the injuries and off-field drama, Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones decided to bring Ratliff back for the 2013 season.    

As noted by NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal, the news of Ratliff's placement on the Reserve/PUP list doesn't exactly provide a glowing recommendation for Dallas' decision:

Cowboys place Jay Ratliff on reserve/PUP. Underscores what a bad decision it was to keep him.

— gregg rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) August 27, 2013

NFL.com's Albert Breer immediately thought back to the 2013 NFL draft when he heard the news:

Hard not to think of Sharrif Floyd when seeing Cowboys put Ratliff on the reserve/PUP. Many thought Floyd was a perfect fit for Kiffin 4-3.

— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) August 27, 2013

Dallas, which had the No. 18 overall pick in the first round, opted to trade back with the San Francisco 49ers for the No. 31 pick, where they selected offensive lineman Travis Frederick from Wisconsin. Floyd, whom Breer references, went five picks after Dallas' original selection. 

The Cowboys enter the season extremely thin at defensive tackle. Former 3-4 defensive end Jason Hatcher has moved inside to provide depth to the position alongside Nick Hayden, Ben Bass and Sean Lissemore, but Dallas was counting on Ratliff's production when training camp began. 

As recently as last week, teammate DeMarcus Ware vouched for Ratliff's return to the lineup before Dallas takes on the New York Giants in Week 1. ESPN Dallas had the tweet:

Ware: Ratliff, Spencer will be ready for opener http://t.co/SCMEEtN2ET

— ESPNDallas (@ESPNDallas) August 21, 2013

Now, Ratliff will not be eligible to return until the Cowboys play the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 20. 

In eight career seasons, Ratliff has played in 104 NFL games and recorded 158 solo tackles, 27.0 sacks and 13 forced fumbles. He signed a five-year, $40 million extension with the team in 2011 that guaranteed him $18 million upfront and will run through the 2017 season.