FRISCO, Texas (AP) — While Travis Frederick has no idea when his football career will resume, the Dallas Cowboys center is just relieved that he found out what was wrong when he was diagnosed with a nerve disorder.
The four-time Pro Bowler doesn’t want to say that his presence on the active roster, rather than injured reserve, means he could come back sooner than the eight weeks required by an IR designation.
Frederick is getting treated for Guillain-Barre syndrome, an auto-immune disease that attacks nerves and leads to weakness in various parts of the body.
“I wish I was lying to you by telling you that,” Frederick said Thursday in his first meeting with reporters since the diagnosis. “I have some of the best doctors in the business working on this and they can’t even begin to predict how this is going to work. It really is a week-by-week thing.”
Frederick’s streak of starting all 83 games, including three playoff games, in his five seasons with the Cowboys will end Sunday. Dallas plays at Carolina.
The 27-year-old reiterated that his chances of a quick recovery improved when the disease was caught early. Frederick was diagnosed about 2½ weeks ago and immediately underwent treatment.
The 2016 All-Pro said doctors believe he has a type of Guillain-Barre that allows for complete recovery and a slightly increased risk of getting the disease again.
With doctors catching the condition early, Frederick said he is likely to avoid extreme symptoms such as temporary paralysis and difficulties with breathing and body control.
Frederick said he experienced numbness in both feet and hands and in one of his arms. He still says he’s dealing with numbness in both arms.
“I was very relieved to finally have an idea of what it was that was going on, because I was having some weird symptoms,” Frederick said. “I got treatment and things started to improve. That helped relieve some of that uneasiness there.
“It’s hard looking forward not knowing what’s coming as far as a recovery standpoint, when I can come back. But knowing that I will get back to 100 percent at some point is certainly relieving.”
Frederick said he has been cleared for some work in the weight room and has been “retraining the body to make sure I can do the movements that I previously have been able to do.”
He has also stayed around his teammates, traveling to the final preseason game in Houston and planning to do the same for the opener.
“His involvement with our team is a reflection on the kind of guy he is,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s part of the meetings. He’s out there at the walkthroughs. He’s doing everything he can to get himself back, but he’s really contributing to our team as he’s in that process.”
Frederick, who has a wife and two children, says he can handle many of the daily functions in life. Blocking 300-pound defensive linemen is another matter. And that’s where his case differs from rehabbing a more traditional football injury.
“When you’re injured, you try and get past it,” he said. “This is something I can’t just will my way through. It’s a matter of the nerves not conducting properly and not working correctly. It’s going to require some patience.”
Frederick first felt sensations that football players associate with neck injuries, or stingers, while the Cowboys were at training camp in California.
A doctor in the Los Angeles area cleared him of neck issues, and Frederick told reporters it looked like he would be OK. As the feelings persisted and his neck still checked out fine structurally, Frederick wondered what else could be wrong.
Now that he has the answer, he waits. And six-year veteran Joe Looney will be the first person other than Frederick to start at center for the Cowboys since the 2012 finale.
“He’s very upbeat and positive,” offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. “You can tell he feels good about his road to recovery. In his role now, it’s helping getting Joe ready and getting those O-linemen tuned in.”
NOTES: Backup G Parker Ehinger, recently acquired from Kansas City in a trade, injured a knee and couldn’t finish practice Wednesday. The Cowboys worked out free agent Xavier Su’a-Filo, a former starter in Houston. ... CB Chidobe Awuzie was limited for the second straight day because of tightness in his back.