FRISCO, Texas – This time last week, Amari Cooper was feeling pretty good about his injured quad.
In just a few short days, the contusion was feeling a lot better, and he was optimistic about how he'd be feeling when the Cowboys got to MetLife Stadium to play the New York Jets.
"From the time I had hurt it in the Green Bay game to the time I talked to you guys, it had taken a huge leap," Cooper said. "So I thought it would continue to get a lot better each and every day – but it kind of plateaued and it only got a little bit better every day."
That much was obvious on Sunday. Cooper caught a short out route and was tackled directly onto his bruised quad. On the next snap, he ran a slant-and-go and clearly pulled up, realizing that his leg hurt too much to let him get to top speed.
"I can go out there and jog around and whatever, block a cornerback," he said. "But last week I just couldn't do my job."
Cooper said Thursday that he felt like he was hurting the team more than helping it, so he went to the bench. The Cowboys threw the ball for 270 yards without him, but it was evident Dak Prescott and the offense missed the explosive element he brings to the table.
For his part, Prescott declined to pin that performance solely on Cooper's absence, as dropped passes and untimely penalties proved costly last weekend.
"Guys have got to step up and take advantage of an opportunity," Prescott said. "It doesn't matter if one guy's out or not. Point to last week, it was more than just him."
Even still, it'd be a nice boost if Cooper is available to go against Philadelphia. No one needs reminding of what he did at home against the Eagles last year, but just in case: he caught 10 balls for 217 yards and three touchdowns, including the walkoff touchdown in overtime.
"You know it's going to be a challenge, it's going to be a dogfight for us," Cooper said. "It's a divisional game, and it's always a dogfight."
Whether he's part of the matchup is the big question. Cooper said he intends to practice Friday and see how he feels. He has played through foot and ankle injuries at times this season, and he played through a similar quad contusion as a rookie – so he's no stranger to dealing with pain.
In this case, all that's left is to wait and see how well he can manage.
"We'll see. It's feeling a little bit better every day," he said.