Dez Bryant breaks fibula, out for season

Updated: December 6, 2010, 9:32 PM ET
By Todd Archer | ESPNDallas.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- Dez Bryant's rookie season with the Dallas Cowboys is over because of a fractured right fibula.

According to multiple sources, Bryant will have surgery Monday morning to repair the fracture.

"That sets us back," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. "That sets us back. I really feel bad for him, but it really sets us back. The good news is we've got some depth there. That'll give [Kevin] Ogletree and guys like that a little more play time."

The wide receiver suffered the injury on a 21-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 38-35 overtime victory against the Indianapolis Colts. He declined comment after the game.

Bryant entered Sunday with a bruised back and a sprained left ankle he suffered in Saturday's walkthrough before the team flew to Indianapolis. He worked out before the game and was cleared to play. He finished the game with one catch for 14 yards and averaged 35.7 yards on three kickoff returns. He had a return to the Colts 16 called back earlier in the fourth quarter because of a holding penalty.

On the return in which he was injured, Bryant was spun to the ground by Kavell Conner and he was unable to get up. Bryant was taken directly to the locker room by the medical staff and did not put any pressure on his leg as he was carried off.

Bryant has not been able to shake free from injuries since training camp started. He missed five preseason games because of a high right ankle sprain suffered inside the Alamodome. He aggravated that injury in the regular season and also played through rib, back, hip and left ankle injuries.

"He certainly made great strides in his rookie year," Cowboys interim head coach Jason Garrett said. "We talked about that before with a guy that missed as much training camp as he did to make the impact that he made on our football team has been significant. He'll learn from these experiences and hopefully he'll continue to learn this year when he's out."

Bryant finishes the season with 45 catches for 561 yards and eight touchdowns (six receiving, two punt returns). His reception total is second-best in team history by a rookie. Only Bob Hayes had more with 46 in 1965. His touchdown total is tied for fourth-most by a rookie in team history.

"It's unfortunate for him because especially as a rookie you want to get as many reps and playing time as you can," quarterback Jon Kitna said. "You just learn the game. You learn the nuances. You learn the little things going on in a game that you can get better at. That makes it unfortunate but this is a step-up league and the next guy has got to step up and that's what we'll do."

Rookie cornerback Bryan McCann handled the punt return duties in Bryant's absence and has also handled kickoffs. Cornerback Terence Newman can also return punts, and Ogletree can also return kickoffs.

Todd Archer covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his mailbag.

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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