Dez Bryant's injury stings Jones
SAN ANTONIO -- Jerry Jones had been in New York and was 10 minutes from landing back in San Antonio when he got word that prized rookie wide receiver Dez Bryant had suffered a high-ankle sprain on the next-to-last play of Friday's afternoon practice at the Dallas Cowboys' training camp.
Jones would take the controversy about Bryant not carrying Roy Williams' pads -- which quarterback Tony Romo described Friday as "nothing more than a hiccup" -- over this news any day.
"We know that he's probably going to be out 4-6 weeks," the Cowboys' owner said. "It's really disappointing, and it really causes you to ask what can you do in practices that can mitigate some of the exposure to some of these injuries. It's a real challenge for everybody."
Jones and Romo, among others in the camp, initially thought the injury was less severe. Romo even joked that an extra week or two off would allow Bryant to regain "fresh legs." Nobody was joking later.
Jones second-guessed the wisdom of Bryant being on the field after a demanding week of practice for the first-round pick. Bryant got reps as a receiver and as a kick/punt returner.
"You generally are more prone to injury when you're tired," Jones said. "I just spoke with Dez. He's upset, worrying about how many preseason games he'll miss. He's really worked hard for us."
There was a hint of relief from Jones -- as with many executives and coaches -- that he won't have to worry about someone he described as a "star player" getting injured in preseason games. But Bryant is a rookie and will miss valuable practice repetitions.
Other than the return game, the Cowboys have a fairly simple plan for Bryant in 2010. He's shown such a gift for catching the ball in tight spots -- and with exceptional body control -- that there have been no plans to overload him. Because the Cowboys have an abundance of talent at offensive skill positions -- not unlike the Vikings had in 1998 when Randy Moss was a rookie -- Bryant's absence now may not prohibit him from making impact plays early in the season.
Here are more observations from the Cowboys' camp:
ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen will file reports from all training camps and updates on the road via Twitter (@mortreport).