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Mike McCarthy: Cowboys WR Michael Gallup in 'fourth quarter' of ACL rehab

The Dallas Cowboys will likely be without Michael Gallup to start the 2022 campaign but coach Mike McCarthy confirmed that the wideout is making progress.

OXNARD, Calif. — Michael Gallup can catch just about everything but a break.

The former 2018 third-round pick from Colorado State demonstrated his commitment to winning when he caught a touchdown pass while simultaneously tearing his ACL in the Dallas Cowboys' Week 17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, 28-25. 

With the injury occurring on Jan. 2, Gallup was a long shot to make it through rehabilitation and be ready by the regular season — which unto itself had a huge helping of ambiguity as Gallup was in the final year of his contract.

The Cowboys decided to reconfigure the position to go with youth and high upside. Dallas let fellow 2018 draft classmate Cedrick Wilson sign with the Miami Dolphins, and traded Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns. The path was cleared for former 2020 first-rounder CeeDee Lamb to secure his spot as the team's No. 1 wideout.

Dallas also signed Gallup to a five-year, $57 million contract in free agency. The 6-foot-1-inch, 198-pounder could focus on rehab and not also have to integrate into a new offense with a new team.

The expectation is that Gallup will miss a beginning portion of the regular season as he works his way back. While that still may be the case, coach Mike McCarthy provided encouragement as to where Gallup is on the first day of training camp.

"I don’t think he’s missed a target yet," McCarthy said. "I just know that I think we do an incredible job with our players from a rehab standpoint."

Gallup, who has 193 catches for 2,902 yards and 15 touchdowns through 55 games, 43 of which he started, is on the physically unable to perform list. However, the wideout has been an excellent performer working with trainer Britt Brown.

"He’s got his hands on those guys everyday and Michael has been there everyday and he hasn’t had a setback," said McCarthy. "So, I think he’s clearly over that stage where he’s probably in the fourth quarter of his rehab. So, yeah, he looks really good. I don’t have a timeline for you, but he’s definitely on target.”

The Cowboys will have to find ways to replace the targets lost with Gallup rehabbing into the regular season. Running back Tony Pollard is a candidate to take snaps in the passing game to help the workload, as is third-round receiver Jalen Tolbert. 

What Dallas can count on is that Gallup is diligent in his rehab off to the side to ensure that he returns to the action on the field ready to contribute.

Do you think Michael Gallup will have a big year for the Cowboys upon his return? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.

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