The Dallas Cowboys remain hopeful Dez Bryant can return for their Oct. 25 game against the New York Giants.
It’s the reason they didn’t put the star receiver on injured reserve/designated for return, giving him a six-week timeline to get back from his fractured foot.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones disputed an NFL Network report that Bryant likely will miss 10-12 weeks because of a bone graft to repair the fifth metatarsal in his right foot. The fifth metatarsal is the long bone on the outside of the foot, connecting to the little toe, and a bone graft is not uncommon in that part of the foot.
Last year, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot — the same as Bryant — and had a similar procedure that included a bone graft. He broke the bone in practice on July 30, 2014, was placed on short-term IR and returned for a Nov. 2 game.
“Everyone this surgeon has done for us, Lawrence last year, he does the graft procedure, with the pin, with the screw and no way in our opinion will that prolong and increase the amount of time Dez Bryant will be out,” Jones said. “That’s just wrong. It’s done to increase, in other words, enhance the timetable for him to get back.
“Last year, Lawrence had this same exact thing, did the very same thing, took some bone grafted to help the assistance of the growth around the area, and he was back arguably, although we put him on IR, you could make a case we had him out there doing football at five weeks.”
Bryant suffered a Jones fracture in the fourth quarter of the season opener against the New York Giants. A Jones fracture is a fracture in the meta-diaphyseal junction of the fifth metatarsal, a small area that receives less blood.
“Nothing has changed,” team executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “From the day Dez had the surgery, nothing has changed. The same deal.”
The Cowboys set a team record they would rather not have Sunday, committing 18 penalties. They had three others that the Eagles declined.
The previous mark of 17 was set against the Cleveland Browns in a 1988 game.
“We didn’t coach very well this week. A 15-penalty differential [from last week’s three],” coach Jason Garrett said. “So we have to get that stuff cleaned up.”
Twelve Cowboys had penalties accepted against them, and nine of the 18 penalties were made by four offensive linemen. Center Travis Frederick was the only starting offensive lineman without a penalty.
The good news for the Cowboys is they didn’t set the NFL record for penalties in a game, coming within four. Three teams had 22 penalties in a game, the last being the 49ers in a game against the Bills in 1998.
Bailey draws penalty
Kickers don’t normally draw 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Especially when they’re standing on the sideline.Yet, Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey did just that Sunday.
“Probably [his first], and hopefully the only one,” Bailey said. “We laugh about it, but realistically that was 15 yards that goes against our team. Obviously, not a good situation. I’m going to definitely keep my distance from here on out.”
On the final play of the third quarter, Eagles running back DeMarco Murray, a former teammate, hurdled Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr for a 22-yard gain on a pass from Sam Bradford. Murray ran out of bounds on the Cowboys’ sideline at the end of the play, and Bailey grabbed Murray’s arm.
Bailey couldn’t explain why he did it, calling it a “reaction.”
▪ Jerry Jones said the Cowboys have not discussed their backup quarterback situation yet. Brandon Weeden is the only healthy quarterback on the team’s 53-player roster. Kellen Moore and Jameill Showers are on the practice squad, and Dustin Vaughan, who was on the roster last season, has been a free agent since the Cowboys released him in final cuts.