IRVING, TX - MAY 01: Tight end John Phillips #89 of the Dallas Cowboys makes a catch during rookie mini camp on May 1, 2009 in Irving, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Wade Phillips announced this morning that tight end Martellus Bennett will miss Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers with lingering concussion symptoms. Bennett suffered the injury on a play during last week's 31-24 loss to the New York Giants in the Meadowlands.
Bennett has not practiced this week.
Taking up the slack for Bennett will be rookie tight end John Phillips, who has played sparingly through the first 13 weeks of the season. A Virginia product, Phillips has drawn high praise from coaches and teammates since off-season workouts as an adept blocker and a maturing pass catcher.
The rookie said on Thursday that he would be ready for the challenge.
"It won't change my approach at all," Phillips said. "It's the same thing, got to get ready. You never know when you're going to be in there for 60 plays."
Despite just two catches on the season for eight yards, the blocking game where the sixth round choice earns his pay. Aside from the run-of-the-mill tight end duty of blocking down field, he is often lined up as an H-back in order to block on runs.
Phillips got a ringing endorsement from Jason Witten this week, who praised the rookie for his poise.
"John has done great," Witten said. "The one thing you look at as a rookie is that the stage doesn't get too big for him. He just goes out and does his work. I think he's more athletic than people give him credit for. He's great to work with because he's so smart and he can play in so many different situations. If Martellus can't go, it's a blow, but I think John is ready to step up to the challenge."