Cowboys' Melton out of playoffs with knee injury

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IRVING, Texas (AP) — Dallas defensive tackle Henry Melton will miss the playoffs because of a right knee injury sustained in the regular-season finale at Washington.

Melton, who missed most of last season in Chicago with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with a bruised right knee.

Dallas replaced Melton by signing linebacker James Anderson, a third-round pick by Carolina in 2006. Anderson spent seven seasons with the Panthers and one in Chicago before playing in seven games with Tennessee this season.

The Cowboys (12-4) are at home against Detroit (11-5) in a wild-card game Sunday.

Melton led the Cowboys in sacks most of the season, but didn't have one in the final seven games. He finished with five sacks, eight solo tackles and 17 quarterback pressures.

The 28-year-old Melton was slowed in his return from last year's knee injury by a groin problem in training camp, but didn't miss any regular-season games.

"It was rough coming back and I think one of the major factors was I had to get back into playing shape," Melton said. "A lot of people told me about it's going to take one step to actually feel confident in it and there's another step where you've got to be able to go play and breathe and be able to run on it."

The sixth-year pro is unlikely to return to Dallas unless he signs a new contract. He played on an incentive-laden one-year deal with a three-year club option that guarantees him $9 million in 2015.

The Cowboys are likely to make him a pre-June 1 cut that would cost about $750,000 against the salary cap.

"I can't think about that," Melton said before the team announced the roster move. "I love it here in Dallas, love the fans, love everything."

Melton grew up in the Dallas area and played running back in high school before moving to defensive end at Texas. He made the Pro Bowl in 2012 with the Bears.



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