Cowboys TE John Phillips hurts knee

Updated: August 9, 2010, 11:53 AM ET
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

CANTON, Ohio -- Dallas Cowboys tight end John Phillips will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging test Monday to determine whether he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the Hall of Fame Game.

Phillips believes he injured the knee when he landed after catching a back-shoulder throw from Jon Kitna. It was the second of four receptions for Phillips, who left the game after he collapsed while battling with Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Frostee Rucker as he tried to release into a pass route.

The preliminary diagnosis is that Phillips, a sixth-round pick who contributed as a rookie last season, suffered a torn ACL that would be a season-ending injury.

"I've got to say positive and wait until tomorrow to see what the doctors confirm," Phillips said. "Regardless of what they say, something's got to be confirmed on the screen. Until they show it to me, I'm going to stay positive."

The Cowboys are suddenly thin at tight end behind perennial Pro Bowler Jason Witten. No. 2 tight end Martellus Bennett didn't play in the preseason opener to rest an ankle injury that sidelined him for the first week of training camp. Kevin Brock, who left Fawcett Stadium with a walking boot and crutches, suffered a sprained left ankle after replacing Phillips. Undrafted rookie Scott Sicko is the only other tight end on the roster.

Phillips blocked well as the Cowboys' third tight end during his rookie season, in which he caught seven passes for 62 yards. His progress as a receiver and ability to be a lead blocker out of the backfield made it a strong possibility that he'd have an increased role in the offense this season.

"It's disappointing because he was having such a great camp and such a great game," tight ends coach John Garrett said. "But I know one thing: He's got great resolve. He's got great perseverance. If there's anybody's going to come back even stronger than he was before, it'll be John Phillips."

The Cowboys are also thin at cornerback because of injuries Sunday night. Cletis Gordon, the frontrunner in the competition to be the Cowboys' fourth cornerback, strained his neck on a punt return during the second half and will be further evaluated. Undrafted rookie cornerback Bryan McCann suffered a chest contusion on another punt return.

Alex Barron, the backup at both offensive tackle spots, also left the game after spraining his left ankle and jamming his left wrist.

Tim MacMahon covers the Cowboys for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.

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