IRVING, Texas– One of the biggest questions concerning this Cowboys team this week doesn't even focus on Sunday's game with the Eagles. In fact, it's not even an issue for the rest of this month.
But trying to figure out when Dez Bryant might be returning to the lineup has prompted a wide range of speculation that hasn't provided many solid answers.
Initially the timetable was in the 4-6 week range and while the Cowboys haven't changed that, there have been comparisons to other foot injuries in both in the NFL and NBA that have created more doubt in Bryant's return. National reports of a possibly 6-8 week or even 8-12 week absence has been mentioned.
The Cowboys, meanwhile, will still to the day-by-day rehab and will try to get Dez on the field as soon as he's ready. That was evident this week when they decided not to place him on the 8-week short-term Injured Reserve list.
That's exactly what the Cowboys did last year with DeMarcus Lawrence, who had a very similar fractured foot injury that required a surgically-placed pin. Lawrence said this week he probably could've played in the sixth or seventh week of the regular season but wasn't eligible because of the eight-week IR.
Likely with that in mind, Jason Garrett said the Cowboys opted not to put Bryant on the same list.
"I think you're always trying to assess how long a player is going to be out and the value of that guy," Garrett said on Friday. "In Dez's case, we want to give him every opportunity to be back as soon as he can. We're optimistic that he can be back soon, and obviously he's an impact player for us."
[embeddedad0]Falcons star receiver Julio Jones had a similar injury in 2013 and eventually missed a total of 11 games. This week, Jones' teammate Roddy White said he didn't expect Bryant to return at all this year, and if he did, he wouldn't be as effective because of all the required running the position demands.
"I just don't see him making it back this year," White said in an interview for SiriusXM's Fantasy Sports channel, "Or if he does make it back it will probably be late in the playoffs. It's still a risk. Anytime you are coming off a foot injury, you know, he's not going to be running or anything like that. It'll be weeks before he can actually apply any kind of pressure onto it or even start walking around."
Bryant will miss his first regular-season game since the 2011 season this Sunday. He missed one game that year and the final four games as a rookie in 2010.