T.O., nursing ankle sprain, expected to be game-time decision

1/7/2008 - NFL Terrell Owens Dallas Cowboys + more

IRVING, Texas -- Terrell Owens was still limping Monday on
his sprained left ankle and his status for the Dallas Cowboys'
playoff game next weekend was uncertain, though some teammates
expect him to play.

"Absolutely, we're all counting on him playing," Jason Witten
said. "He's a tough guy. Nobody wants it more than he wants it
himself to get out there and play. He's a quick healer, and he
looked good out there, I thought."

Coach Wade Philllips said Owens was limited in a light workout
Monday, the first for the top-seeded Cowboys (13-3) since learning
they will play the New York Giants in the NFC divisional playoffs
Sunday -- and the first for T.O. since he sustained a high ankle
sprain Dec. 22 at Carolina.

"It looks to me that it's going to be a game-time decision on
him. ... It's Monday game week. He probably couldn't have played
today," Phillips said. "It was a limp-through for him, a
walkthrough for us."

Owens wasn't yet on the field during the short period of time at
the beginning of the workout that was open to reporters, but Witten
and Patrick Crayton were encouraged by what they saw once T.O.
joined them.

"I don't know if 81 [Owens] is at full strength, but he's good
enough to where he said he was going to practice this week so he
can get some timing back and everything," Crayton said.

"It's going to be great to have him back out there on the
field," Witten said. "Obviously, he's our playmaker and he makes
all of our jobs easier, and helps our team win."

Owens, who has 81 catches for 1,355 yards and an NFC-high 15
touchdowns, wasn't seen during the open locker room period Monday.
Team spokesman Rich Dalrymple said Owens didn't plan to talk until
after the game.

Despite the optimism expressed by Crayton and Witten, the coach
remained cautious when asked repeatedly about Owens' status.

Phillips, who last week hoped Owens could return to practice
Wednesday or Thursday, said the dilemma is determining "what
percentage" the receiver is going to be healthy before deciding if
he will practice or play.

"If he were able to practice Wednesday or Thursday, Friday
maybe, it'd clarify things a little easier," Phillips said. "If
he can't [practice], that's why I said it'd have to be a game-time

"From his history, from his toughness, his ability to withstand
those kind of things, I think those are all positives," he said.
"But you still don't want to put him in harm's way."