USA TODAY Sports’ Mike Jones and Jori Epstein on how the Colts and Cowboys came up big on NFL wild-card Saturday.
USA TODAY Sports
ARLINGTON, Texas — A gruesome injury to Allen Hurns cast a shadow on an otherwise celebratory night for the divisional round-bound Cowboys.
The veteran receiver was carted off the field, fist raised, halfway through the first quarter after an awkward tackle from strong safety Bradley McDougald on a 14-yard reception up the middle. Replay video showed Hurns banging his fist into the ground in pain, his left foot turned 180 degrees outward after it was crushed beneath McDougald.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said after the game that Hurns suffered a dislocated ankle and fractures. He underwent surgery Saturday night and will miss the rest of the playoffs.
“I really feel for him,” teammate Amari Cooper said. “I know he’s crushed because he wants to be here. Yeah, it’s hard: It’s our brother and he’s in a room with us every day. We do everything together as a receiver group. It’s really devastating, obviously, to have to continue to play. But we played with him in mind.”
Cooper led Cowboys receivers with 106 yards in the 24-22 win.
But he, too, was slow to get up on a first-half tackle. Slot receiver Cole Beasley needed medical attention on a 14-yard catch before Hurns’ injury in the first quarter but escaped with an ankle sprain.
Beasley struggled to fit his shoe over the tender ankle at his locker postgame. He was more concerned for Hurns.
“It was terrible, man,” Beasley said. “You never want to see an injury like that to any of your brothers out there. It’s unfortunate, man. I feel for him and hope he’s in good spirits.”
Seahawks and Cowboys alike fled benches to wish Hurns well before he was carted off on a stretcher. Broadcast footage of head coach Jason Garrett holding Hurns’ hand went viral. Teammates texted Hurns while he was set for surgery, too, wishing him well.
Seattle kicker Sebastian Janikowski also suffered a game-ending left thigh injury just before halftime.
Hurns caught 20 passes for 295 yards and two touchdowns in the regular season after signing as a free-agent with the Cowboys in March.
But his two-year, $12 million contract only guaranteed his 2018 $2.5 million base salary — not the $4 million base should Dallas re-sign him for a second season. Cowboys management has said it wants to extend Cooper in the offseason. They will have the option to part ways with Hurns up until the NFL year ends on March 13.
Garrett, declining to comment on specifics beyond a “significant injury to his lower leg,” suggested Hurns’ tenure in Dallas would continue.
“It’s a serious injury that he has,” Garrett said. “He’s going to come back, he’s going to play a lot of football for us in the future.”
Quarterback Dak Prescott praised how Hurns has contributed on and off the field.
“One of the best teammates I’ve ever had, and I think anybody on this team would say that,” Prescott said. “When a guy like that goes down, it hurts. Just seeing how nasty that was, it hurts a lot. But you keep him in your mind the whole game, knowing that Hurns would be giving it his all if he was in there.
“Hurns is probably one of our most underrated players, knowing he can play every position at wide out. He can even play tight end and know what he is doing. It is very, very unfortunate but prayers are with him. I’ll see him and talk to him soon.”
The Cowboys will play at the Saints or Rams in the divisional round.
Follow Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.