Over the last week Cowboys officials have publicly discussed Ronald Leary being the starting left guard when the regular season starts against the New York Giants.

So what has happened to Nate Livings who started 16 games at that position last season?

Now we know: Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones hinted during a radio interview on KRLD-FM that Livings who has undergone two knee surgeries since February could have a degenerative condition in his knee.

"You'd ask yourself 'Is there a degeneration in the knee as opposed to a fix of an injury that comes back as good as new?' I think he’s having some of that a degeneration" Jones said Friday. "But that's not uncommon at all at this point in his career so a combination of those things puts a little guesswork into when he might be back."

The Cowboys could release Livings but he'd still count $2.4 million against the salary cap in 2013 whether he's on the roster or not. With the offensive line in a fluid situation the Cowboys might place Livings on the injured reserve-returnable list where he'd miss eight weeks of the season. A NFL team can only use this designation once during the season.

Livings was a productive player last season but his health started to betray him toward the end of the season. Cowboys officials have played Leary at left guard with the first team in Livings' absence. When Leary went down with a knee injury that required minor surgery David Arkin moved into that spot.