Cowboys will keep Travis Frederick on roster as he recovers from rare disease

The Dallas Cowboys are keeping star center Travis Frederick on their 53-man roster. Frederick, who was recently diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, is still out for an unspecified period of time, but by electing not to place him on injured reserve, the Cowboys are at least signaling optimism that he can make a return to the field before Week 8. 

According to a report from David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys decided that Frederick is too important to place on IR in the event that he is ready prior to Week 9, when he'd first be eligible to return if he were placed on the list. 

Club officials have determined the Pro Bowl center's importance to the team outweighs the uncertainty of knowing when he can step back into the starting lineup. It's a clear indication the Cowboys hope - it should be stressed there's nothing stronger than hope at this stage - that Frederick may be able to return sooner than if he was placed on injured reserve.

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But the Cowboys have chosen to go a different route. If Guillain-Barre has imposed no timetable on Frederick entering the regular season, why should the club? The simple act of carrying him on the active roster suggests the Cowboys believe there's a chance he can return before the team faces Philadelphia on Nov. 11.

Guillain-Barre is an autoimmune disorder in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the nerves, resulting in rapid-onset muscle weakness. The recovery time period varies wildly, but with the Cowboys and Frederick having diagnosed Frederick early, it is possible his could be on the shorter end of the spectrum. 

Frederick spent much of last week around the team's facility and accompanied the Cowboys on their trip to Houston for the preseason finale, though he did not partake in practice. He is being put through a series of exercises each week to determine his progress, and he will need to be evaluated by a neurologist as he works his way back to the field. 

With Frederick out, the Cowboys are expected to start backup lineman Joe Looney at center. Looney has been a backup interior lineman on the team since 2016 but has played sparingly outside of special teams situations. He'll take over for a four-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro who had yet to miss a game or a start in his NFL career, and has become arguably the best center in football. Luckily for Looney he will be playing alongside two other All-Pros in Zack Martin and Tyron Smith, who are each expected to be healthy for the start of the season. 

CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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