IRVING -- Tony Romo feels better about his ribs. Can he say the same about his receivers?
"They're going to be OK," the Dallas Cowboys quarterback said Thursday. "They'll be ready to go. We have a little more understanding of what's going to happen, who is going to play what positions."
That would help Sunday against the Detroit Lions, because not only will Miles Austin miss another game, Dez Bryant might join him on the sideline.
Bryant sat out practice on Thursday because of the thigh bruise he suffered in the season opener and caused him to miss the Week 2 game. He played Monday night against the Washington Redskins, but coach Jason Garrett hinted that the muscle didn't bounce back quickly.
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If there's no Bryant and no Austin, Romo's options on the outside will be third-year player Kevin Ogletree, free-agent pickup Laurent Robinson, reality show winner Jesse Holley and rookie Dwayne Harris.
Is this what anybody had in mind?
"We've got some young guys that we depend on, and they're playing good ball," Romo said. "Kevin had a great practice today. I expect him to come back and have a great week. There's a lot of guys like that, that we depend on. I'm excited for those guys to go out there and show what they can do."
The Cowboys left themselves vulnerable to inexperience when they released receiver Roy Williams. They tried to compensate in training camp by making sure the receivers knew each position, particularly Ogletree, who normally is the third receiver. Two weeks ago, he started in Bryant's spot. Last week, he started in Austin's absence.
"We certainly have some players we like to get the ball to," Garrett said. "We have to find different ways to do that.... One of our challenges as coaches is to find some of our younger players a role and get them doing some things in the game that they're capable of doing."
Ogletree has given the Cowboys five catches for 69 yards in his two injury starts. Holley made the big play to set up the winning field goal against San Francisco. Robinson made two catch-and-run plays against the Redskins.
Harris, who led the team in preseason receiving, is on punt-return duty and hasn't caught a pass yet.
For Ogletree, it's a prime opportunity. But he and Romo didn't look like they were in sync Monday against the Washington Redskins.
"I thought Kevin did some good things," Garrett said. "He made some plays down the field. There were things that weren't quite as good for Kevin, as well. He did make a real critical play at the end of the game.... I think it was a 25-yard gain [actually, 20] on that last drive when he kind of reached back and made that play in the middle of the field."
Robinson, a five-year veteran who came to the Cowboys with 89 career catches after being cut by the San Diego Chargers, made his experience pay off. He said he didn't miss an assignment Monday night, and Garrett liked his play.
"You could tell he's played in games," Garrett said. "He's run routes and caught balls in the NFL. I thought you saw that. I thought he was strong at the ball, after the catch and then making some plays with his feet, making some runs after the catch. He did a nice job for us in the limited role that he got."
Holley and Harris are far less proven. But they might get their chances against the Lions.
"We had some mishaps out there Monday, but we'll fix those things and get it right," Holley said. "We're a good group. We know our stuff, and we'll fix it."