MOBILE, Ala. – It's still several months away, but Cowboys officials are confident in Dez Bryant's availability for the start of the offseason program this spring.
"We feel good about it," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones. "But will we manage him the right way? Of course we will."
It's been three weeks since Bryant had a second bone graft to mend the fracture he suffered in his right foot this past season. He also had a bone spur removed from his ankle, as he coped with multiple different injuries throughout 2015.
Bryant is still in a boot as he recovers from the surgery, but the Cowboys are confident it won't be a long-term issue for the Pro Bowl receiver.
"Felt like the surgery went well," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett on Tuesday night. "He's still getting back, it's a slow process. We're glad we got it done almost immediately after the season, so it's giving him plenty of time to come back. All reports are that everything has been positive up to this point."
Bryant initially broke his foot on the first night of the season, and he returned after surgery and a five-week absence. Shortly after that return, however, he suffered injuries to his knee and ankle while jumping for an acrobatic touchdown against Philadelphia.
The injuries eventually sidelined Bryant for the final two games of the season, and he finished with career lows for games played, receptions, yards and touchdowns. Not surprisingly, it's an effort he's eager to put behind him as he begins his rehab.
"He's been at Valley Ranch, and I think he's ready just like everybody. It was a frustrating year for everybody," Jones said.
That's something the Cowboys have to be happy about as 2016 gets underway. Due to his lengthy contract negotiation, Bryant was hardly on hand at the facility all of last offseason. He didn't take part in the offseason program, and he wasn't part of OTAs or minicamp.
"We need him here, we need him being a part of everything and rehabbing and getting in a groove this year," Jones said. "I think he proved that he's one of those guys that – you really want him to be a part of it, day in and day out."
Garrett said Bryant was at Valley Ranch as recently as Monday, so it seems safe to say he agrees.
"I think it's important for all players who are injured to be around and going through a consistent rehab process – we really believe in that," Garrett said. "I think Dez understands that, and really all the guys who have been banged up."