Every preseason has its share of stars, and early on in Sunday's Hall of Fame game between the Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals, it looked as if second-year tight end John Phillips(notes) might be the first name to know this season. Phillips looked great in the preseason opener, catching four passes for 60 yards on six targets and blocking with great aplomb in Dallas' 16-7 win. The Virginia product had worked his way up the ranks in 2009 as a sixth-round pick, starting as the team's third tight end and eventually replacing Martellus Bennett(notes) on the depth chart in the minds of many.
But according to Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News, Phillips may have torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, an injury that would almost certainly end his season. Phillips will get an MRI on Monday, and the injury is not confirmed, but the initial prognosis is not good.
"I'm going to stay positive and wait for [Monday] and see what the doctors get confirmed," Phillips told the media after his injury. "Regardless of what they say something's got to be confirmed on a screen so until they show it to me, I'm going to stay positive."
Phillips made his first start in the Cowboys' 34-14 playoff win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Jan. 9, when Dallas opened with three tight ends. A big target at 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds, Phillips has been a favorite up-and-comer because he blocks very well and can play different tight-end roles. The Cowboys use a lot of two tight-end sets -- they're very effective when doing so -- and Phillips may have been looked at as the guy to go alongside Jason Witten(notes).
Phillips' departure left the door open for 2010 undrafted free agent Scott Sicko(notes) to lead the Cowboys in receptions with five for 44 yards. You may remember Sicko as the guy who initially refused to play in the NFL if he wasn't drafted.