- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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OXNARD, Calif. -- Dallas Cowboys rookie receiver Dez Bryant took significant strides Monday in his recovery from a right high-ankle sprain, but he's been ruled out of Saturday's preseason game against the Houston Texans.
Bryant ran and cut off his right foot for the first time since suffering the injury during a July 30 practice. He jogged through routes before practice under the supervision of receivers coach Ray Sherman and worked on the resistance cords with associate athletic trainer Britt Brown during the workout.
However, Bryant was informed that he would not play Saturday. He still hopes to play in the Sept. 2 preseason finale against the Miami Dolphins, but the athletic training staff is focused on getting him completely healthy for the Sept. 12 season opener against the Washington Redskins.
"It's very frustrating, but at the same time, I've got to look at the big picture," Bryant said after a post-practice teaching session with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. "I'm trying my best to look at the big picture instead of what's going on now. That's the Washington Redskins."
Head coach Wade Phillips said he does not expect Bryant to play during the preseason, but that decision hasn't been made yet.
"We'll just wait and see," Phillips said. "I know he wants to play and he feels better, but we still want to make sure that he's healthy.
"The prognosis all along has been that he will be able to play the first game, not the last preseason game or the last two preseason games. I know he wanted to, but he's not a doctor or athletic trainer."
Bryant, who hasn't played a game since September due to serving an NCAA suspension most of last season, said he experienced no pain during the most strenuous test of his ankle since he was injured. He did not run full speed and isn't sure when he'll be able to return to practice.
The Cowboys traded up to take Bryant with the 24th overall pick and are counting on him to make an immediate impact as a third receiver and return man. He believes that it's in his best interest to play at least one preseason game, although he understands that decision won't be his.
"It's very important, because I'm a rookie," said Bryant, who spoke to owner/general manager Jerry Jones for several minutes during Monday's practice. "I haven't been in an NFL game yet. I just want to get the feel. Just get the feel of the game. I know it's a lot different than practice. I just feel like it'll help out a lot."
10hEric D. Williams