Don’t expect the Cowboys to sideline Dez Bryant the rest of the season.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he fully expects to keep Bryant active in the lineup even though the Cowboys’ season is seemingly lost with quarterback Tony Romo out for the remainder.
Bryant has been battling foot, ankle and knee injuries in recent weeks, but it doesn’t sound like the Cowboys intend to take a cautious approach with him the rest of the way.
“He needs to practice. He needs to play,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM]. “That’s the best thing for Dez.
“We missed a lot with his contract negotiation in the spring and training camp. What Dez needs is repetition, practice repetitions, in-game repetitions, that’ll make him a better player for the future.”
Bryant was targeted eight times on Thursday, and came away with only two catches for 26 yards in the Cowboys’ 33-14 loss to the Panthers. He simply struggled to get open against Carolina corner Josh Norman, who followed him most of the game.
It marked the third consecutive week Bryant has been held to less than 50 receiving yards. He has only one 100-yard receiving game in five games since returning from a fractured right foot that sidlined him the previous five games.
Along with the foot, Bryant has been dealing with knee and ankle injuries of late as well. But he felt he was getting closer and closer to 100 percent after last Sunday’s game in Miami.
Bryant could not be found for comment in the locker room after the Panthers game. But Jones made it clear that injury concerns will not keep Bryant out of game action the rest of the way.
“He plays with pain. He’s Superman with pain,” Jones said. “To come back as quickly as he came back with his fractured foot, was just an example of it. And he’s certainly playing with the tweaked knee. On the other hand, where we’re really suffering and where he’s suffering is not having played during the spring, not being in OTAs.”
Jones is referring to Bryant missing most of the off-season workouts in a contract dispute with the team. They eventually reached a five-year, $70 million deal in July, but Bryant has been battling injuries all season.
He had a hamstring injury early on in training camp, and then broke a bone in his right foot during the season opener that required surgery and kept him out the next five games. Then, during the Eagles game on Nov. 8, Bryant hurt his knee and ankle while making a touchdown catch.
“He just missed a lot of time here this year and he’s not at his complete apex of his A-game,” Jones said.