Mike Sherrard, the Dallas Cowboys' best wide receiver, was lost for the year Wednesday when he tripped during a scrimmage and shattered two bones in his right leg.
Surgery was performed Wednesday evening at Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks. Sherrard, UCLA's all-time leading receiver, will miss the entire season.
When Cowboy safety Michael Downs heard the news, he turned to cornerback Everson Walls and said: "It'll be a long winter."
People in the Dallas organization--from President Tex Schramm to Coach Tom Landry to offensive coordinator Paul Hackett to quarterback Danny White--said the passing game had revolved around Sherrard.
"We'll have to revolve it elsewhere," Landry said.
The injury occurred in a scrimmage against the San Diego Chargers. Sherrard was running a simple pattern against Charger cornerback Carl Brazley when he tripped, lost control of his left foot and fell over. According to Sherrard, he actually kicked his right leg from behind with his left foot, and the force of the blow broke both the tibia and fibula bones.
"It's funny when you think about it, but not so funny when you think what it does to the Cowboys," Landry said.
"The offense will change in a lot of subtle ways, not so much from an execution standpoint, but from an emotional standpoint," White said. "This does so much to us psychologically. . . . It ruined my day. I told Coach Hackett, 'Get me out of here.' I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't do anything."
Schramm was not so much worried about 1987 as he was about 1988 and 1989. Sometimes, players are not able to come back from compound fractures.
"I'm concerned about the future," Schramm said. "Lord, he was in his second year with a bright future. To see that happen is a crime."
Sherrard is the third Cowboy wide receiver to be hurt in two days. On Tuesday, Ray Alexander broke his left wrist. And newly acquired Rod Barksdale pulled his hamstring Wednesday morning. That leaves the Cowboys with receivers such as Gordon Banks, Mike Renfro, Karl Powe and rookie Kelvin Martin.