Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 11/22/11
Mysteries around the Cowboys' practice facility usually concern trying to decode an opponent's tendencies. This week there's something more serious going on regarding the health of fullback Tony Fiammetta. Head coach Jason Garrett gave some cryptic answers when asked about Fiammetta's status this week. Some of them were purposely evasive, but some seemed to indicate honest frustration and not being able to diagnose the illness that kept him out of last week's game against the Redskins. Garrett said Fiammetta feels "nauseous and sick" whenever he works out. Nausea can be a symptom of a concussion, but NFL trainers and doctors are normally adept at catching the signs of head trauma. The Cowboys are looking at possibilities beyond a football injury, or as Garrett said "the origin of the illness." Garrett didn't want to give details, but he did mention the team was looking into "whether it's some illnesses in his family." When asked if Fiammetta could be contagious, Garrett said no. He also said Fiammetta was not being kept away from the team. Fiammetta was held out of practice Monday and Tuesday and likely won't play Thursday against the Dolphins. While Fiammetta's health is obviously the number one concern, his absence in the running game will be felt. Without Fiammetta in last Sunday's overtime win over the Redskins, the Cowboys rushed for 89 yards and averaged just 2.8 yards per carry. The previous week against Buffalo, the Cowboys rushed for 163 yards and a 4.7 average. And the week before that against Seattle, the Cowboys also rushed for 163 yards and a 5.6 average. As foxsportssouthwest.com columnist Bob Sturm pointed out, on normal running plays the Cowboys are averaging 7.08 yards a carry with Fiammetta and 3.02 without him. Reserve tight end John Phillips can do some of the things required of the 6-0, 242-pound Fiammetta in the offense, but he is more of an H-back than a true lead blocker. The Cowboys claimed Fiammetta off waivers from Carolina just before the start of the season, then cut him prior to the season opener to make room for receiver Laurent Robinson. He was quickly resigned the following week after the loss to the Jets. Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire
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