Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 11/10/11
IRVING, Texas -- It's not a mystery, for the Dallas Cowboys, the future at inside linebacker falls on the shoulders of Sean Lee and Bruce Carter. Carter and Lee represent what the franchise has done in the second round of the past two drafts. And the Cowboys may have been lucky, considering both players undoubtedly slipped in the draft because of knee injuries. Lee suffered his injury in 2008 while Carter's occurred in 2010. Now that both players are close to being healthy enough to line up together - Carter made his NFL debut on special teams in Philadelphia and took his first snaps on defense last week against Seattle - the Cowboys can start to take a small glimpse into the future. Despite Lee having his left hand and wrist enclosed in a cast, he and Carter took part in a padded-practice on Wednesday. Carter said his goal of that practice was working on his communication with Lee, knowing where Lee's at on certain plays while also understanding his own assignments. "I obviously think that we'll play together good," Carter said. "Sean's very smart. He's a physical player. He brings a lot to the game. I can't wait to get out there with him." A torn anterior cruciate ligament prevented Carter from participating in pre-draft workouts, all of Cowboys training camp and the first six weeks of the season. He stated on Wednesday that it's been a "long, long journey" and it feels good to finally be back and able to contribute. Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said that Carter was "OK" in his defensive debut. Ryan added that the game was moving fast for the rookie, whose play was highlighted by a deflected pass on third-and-12 early in the third quarter. "We played him some at regular and some at nickel and dime, so he got a little bit of everything, just with limited calls," Ryan said after Sunday's game. "I thought he did fine. He had a real nice play on third down. "He'll be OK. It's tough with no training camp. You talk about throwing a kid in the fire, that's what he's getting. With Seattle's zone running game and all that, it's tough. But he'll be good." Carter agreed that the game was moving fast for him. "I think as I get more experience it will slow down for me," he said. "Just knowing my assignment and being able to read keys before anything actually happens, that helps the game slow down for me. Overall, it was a good experience." Follow Jon Machota on Twitter: @jonmachota
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