One day after Travis Frederick's shocking revelation that he has Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack the nervous system, Cowboys GM Jerry Jones said the four-time Pro Bowl pivot's "spirits are great."
Frederick, 27, already has undergone two treatments for his condition, which was discovered after he recently met with multiple specialists for what he thought were stingers. Guillain-Barré syndrome symptoms include tingling and numbness, respiratory issues and in some very rare cases paralysis.
Frederick said in his statement that the doctors caught it early, creating an optimistic outlook, though there's no timetable on his possible return to the field (which obviously isn't what truly matters right now anyway).
That was the message conveyed by Jones on Thursday, when he expressed relief that Frederick has more clarity on his condition but wouldn't speculate on the Cowboys' next steps, including addressing Frederick's roster status and a potential pivot plan behind reserve-turned-starter Joe Looney.
Jason Garrett spoke later Thursday morning and confirmed Looney, a six-year veteran with 13 career starts, most recently three at guard for the Cowboys in 2016, is Frederick's interim replacement. The Cowboys, then, have no plans to shift All-Pro LG Zack Martin to the middle.
But it's important to note that the Cowboys are entering uncharted waters, as Frederick started 83 games consecutively to begin his career, one earning him recognition as one of the NFL's top two or three pivots. Frederick's illness also magnifies the break Dallas appeared to catch in the second week of the preseason, when Martin avoided a serious knee injury on a low hit by Bengals CB Dre Kirkpatrick, requiring an MRI on Monday.
The Cowboys' seemingly immortal O-line was struck by adversity last season, when LT Tyron Smith missed three games with back and knee issues and no capable replacement emerged for free-agent defection LG Ronald Leary. With the drafting of second-round OG Connor Williams and massive extension for Martin, not to mention Ezekiel Elliott returning after his suspension-shortened season, there was renewed optimism regarding the Cowboys regaining their dominating identity on offense, which starts up front.
That optimism might now be on hold. But most importantly, Frederick told the Cowboys he remains upbeat and is surrounded by a strong support group. PFW is sending its best wishes to Frederick and his family as he undergoes treatment.