Wide receiver Mike Sherrard, former UCLA All-American who missed his rookie season last year with the Dallas Cowboys when he broke his right leg in training camp, has broken the same leg while jogging on a Santa Monica beach.
"That's the discouraging part for everybody," said Leigh Steinberg, Sherrard's agent. "It just gave way. It's a fracture in the same general location as the last one."
Sherrard, the Cowboys' No. 1 draft choice in 1987, had compound fractures of the tibia and fibula in training camp last summer at Thousand Oaks. He rebroke the tibia, the shin bone, Friday. A cast was put on Sherrard's leg but he was not hospitalized, Steinberg said.
Sherrard's parents live in Chico, and he has been rehabilitating his previous injury while sharing an apartment in West Los Angeles with another former Bruin, Mark Walen.
Dr. Robert D. Vandermeer, the Cowboys' physician, said the cast will stay on Sherrard's leg for at least six weeks. Sherrard will probably miss training camp and the four exhibition games, but Vandermeer did not rule out the possibility that Sherrard might play sometime next season.
The Cowboys said Sherrard will return to Dallas as soon as possible to be examined by Vandermeer.
When doctors removed a plate from Sherrard's leg in December, Steinberg said they estimated that Sherrard would have been ready by training camp. Now, Steinberg said no one is really sure how soon Sherrard can come back.
"It's still too early to tell," he said.
Steinberg said he talked with Sherrard shortly after the second break and advised him to keep matters in perspective.
"I told him that this was a situation where he was young, and in life's great order of priorities, the most important thing for him is having a long and healthy life," Steinberg said. "The second is to have a long football career. The third is to play in a specific season. The fourth is to play in a specific game. Basically, we've got to keep the priorities straight."
While Sherrard was working out during the off-season, the Cowboys remained in close contact with the doctors in Southern California.
"First of all we're very concerned for Mike's benefit because he's certainly been working very hard," Cowboy Vice President Joe Bailey said.
"By the same token, we want Mike to be physically capable of playing. We'll just have to take it pretty conservatively and wait and see what happens," Bailey said.