Cowboys doing right things for Fiammetta

November, 22, 2011
11/22/11
9:00
AM ET
IRVING -- The Cowboys don't have starting fullback Tony Fiammetta due to an illness that hasn't been clearly defined.

Reporters have been told Fiammetta gets nauseous and sick when he's working out.

We do know Fiammetta's health issue is not long-term or placed his teammates in any real danger of it being contagious. But the mystery surrounding it is scary for not only him but for the team.

The Cowboys' medical staff does a wonderful job in getting their players the best treatment possible and wouldn't put a player back on the field if it meant long-term damage.

When Tony Romo tried to return to the field last year with a broken collarbone, he was yanked back to the sidelines by associate athletic trainer Britt Brown. Romo also tried to get back in a game at San Francisco before pain medication kicked in for a fractured rib. Head athletic trainer Jim Maurer made sure Romo didn't play until he was nearly pain free.

Along the sidelines on Sunday at Washington several players left the game for an ailment but were quickly tended to by the Cowboys medical staff. One player tried to walk away from a trainer but was quickly grabbed so he could get treatment.

The Cowboys have said they're doing everything possible to help their fullback.

"His symptoms are he just feels nauseous and sick when he’s working out," coach Jason Garrett said. "And I don’t want to get too much into detail about that, but that’s really been it more than anything else. So we have to understand why, whether it’s some illnesses in his family or whatever, I don’t want to go into too much detail, but we’re just trying to get to the bottom of it and we’re doing everything we can to do that."

This is not the first time an illness has baffled a NFL team.

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin missed all of training camp with a mystery illness. The Eagles had to address rumors if it was cancer, mononucleosis or if it was life-threatening.

Maclin lost weight and had low energy. He also had night sweats and a loss of appetite. But the symptoms subsided and after doctors cleared him he was able to play.

Miami had two players, John Jerry and Ike Alama-Francis, with similar situations.

The Cowboys value Fiammetta's work at fullback.

But this isn't about football, it's more about the player's well-being and the Cowboys are doing everything they can to solve Fiammetta's health issues.

“I just think we’re just trying to be sensitive to the whole situation," Garrett said. "Certainly regarding concussions, we want to make sure we do everything the exact right way. The league has done a really good job outlining the procedures and the protocol for all of that, and Jim Maurer and our medical staff do a great job following all of that. So we just want to make sure we’re doing the right things by the player first and foremost, and we’ll just see how it goes here in the next few days."
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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