Ron Jenkins/Associated Press
Hitchens, 25, suffered the injury with 19 seconds remaining in the first half.
His loss would be a major blow for the Cowboys defense. He’s appeared in 48 games in his three-year career (36 starts), accumulating 220 tackles, 3.5 sacks and an interception.
“Such an incredibly important player for us. I’ve said he’s one of the most underrated linebackers in the NFL,” linebacker Sean Lee said of Hitchens, per Drew Davison of the Star-Telegram. “Really having an unbelievable camp, coming into his own, so we’re praying for him. No matter what we know whenever he’s back, he’ll be back. He’ll be great. We’re praying for him, hoping for the best.”
While the Cowboys have some options—they could start second-year man Jaylon Smith, who missed his entire rookie season to injury, move Lee to the middle or start the recently signed Justin Durant—Hitchens was firmly entrenched as the team’s starter.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones spoke about Smith after the contest.
“We’ll stick with our plan with him,” he told Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. “You don’t jeopardize a guy’s future over anything like that, but as you know, Jaylon’s coming along. The plan all along was for him to be ready to play against the Giants. Now are we going to throw him in there for 60-something plays? I don’t think so, but a lot of that is just going to depend on what he’s ready for. My guess is probably not.”
The Cowboys may not have a choice, however, with another starting linebacker, Damien Wilson, potentially facing suspension after his arrest for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in early July.