NFC East: 2011 NFL draft

IRVING, Texas -- Cowboys' second-round pick Bruce Carter suffered a major knee injury in his last season at North Carolina and needed reconstructive surgery. He was cleared by Dr. James Andrews to work out for teams earlier this month.

Carter, an outside linebacker who will play inside for the Cowboys, said he's doing squats, some cutting and leg presses. He hopes to be ready at some point during training camp.

The same situation occurred last year when Sean Lee, a second-round selection, was recovering from knee surgery and wasn't ready to participate until training camp.

"It was very frustrating," Carter said of the knee injury. "To not go out and showcase my talents really bothered me a little bit, and I was just out there and trying to cheer everybody on [in college]."

ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper believes Carter would have been a first-round selection if not for the knee injury. Carter agrees but is just ready to play.

The Cowboys' inside linebackers are Bradie James and Keith Brooking. Both players are in their 30s and coming off nagging injuries that slowed them down last year.

Both are in the last year of their contracts; it's uncertain whether the team wants to re-sign them to another deal. Yet with Lee and now Carter on the roster, it might be time to go younger at inside linebacker.

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