Waters spoke to reporters Tuesday in the Cowboys’ locker room for the first time since the team placed him on injured reserve earlier this month. The six-time Pro Bowler acknowledged that he will likely undergo surgery, but he hasn’t fully made that decision just yet.
“At this particular phase, I’ve got to get to the point of making the decision of having the surgery, and then after that going through the rehab and all that,” he said. “It’s definitely a long process. Obviously, with the season barely being halfway done – there’s a lot of football left in this season. So I’m far from making that decision.”
Naturally, if the veteran hasn’t decided on repairing his triceps, he hasn’t decided on his football future for next season – which was the most pressing question he faced.
Waters turns 37 in just a few months, and he said it was “a grey area” whether he needed to have the surgery if he didn’t plan to play football in the future. Waters said he plans to make the best decision he can in regard to his health going forward, whether he’s playing or not.
“Even when you’re playing, even when you’re younger, you should always have it at the back of your mind. I’m obviously not young, so it’s at the forefront of my mind,” he said. “But it’s definitely one of those things where I want to do what’s best for my health in the longterm.”
The recovery time for the surgery is roughly four to five months, according to Waters. So he could delay the decision and still return in time for next season. However, he did add that should he decide to have the surgery, it wouldn’t guarantee he’ll return to the field in the future.
“No, it wouldn’t – I wouldn’t read into that,” he said. “Whatever decision I’m going to make is going to be a highly thought out process like it always is for me.”
On top of that, he’s not necessarily limiting his services. Asked if Dallas would be the only franchise he’d consider returning to, Waters chuckled.
“If I said that, then I wouldn’t have any negotiations – no leverage at all. So I’m not going to answer that,” he said.
He did add that he still has “an intense passion and love” for football. Waters might prefer to end his career on the playing field, rather than injured reserve, but that very fact is part of why he’s taking his time deciding on the next step.
“Sometimes you have to put your pride aside and do what’s best for yourself. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy, so I have to make sure I’m doing what’s smart,” he said. “But obviously I’m going to talk to the medical people and make sure that, medical-wise, whatever decision I make is the right decision.”
In the meantime, Waters has maintained a presence at the Cowboys’ facility. He is regularly seen working in the team’s weight room, and he said he’s happy to help out in whatever ways he can.
“I’m always going to be around – that’s part of the deal. I’m always going to be around,” he said. “I’m probably not around as much as I was before, by no means. But guys know where they can find me if they need anything from me.”