ARLINGTON, Texas – Given his jubilant attitude in the wake of a Cowboys win, Dez Bryant's absence from the locker room on Sunday night stuck out like a sore thumb.
It wasn't surprising, after hearing that the All-Pro receiver was busy having his knee tended to by team athletic trainers. Bryant suffered the injury on the second play from scrimmage in the Cowboys' 31-17 win against Chicago.
The problem wasn't enough to sideline Bryant, as he returned to the game and caught three balls for 40 yards and the game-clinching touchdown. But it's something the Cowboys will be looking at going forward. Bryant had X-Rays on Sunday night, and he'll undergo an MRI on Monday.
Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said the evidence seems to indicate a sprained knee, but that's still being evaluated.
All of that considered, it's surprising that Bryant played much of a role at all after the initial injury. Facing a 3rd-and-2 with nine minutes to play in the game, he broke open on a slant and dragged two defenders into the end zone for his first touchdown of the season, which put the Cowboys on top, 31-10.
"He was out for a little bit but then he was able to come back," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. "The slant for the touchdown was a big play in the game."
It also doubled as Dak Prescott's first career touchdown pass, as he finally ended his scoring draught and threw his first scoring strike since the third preseason game roughly a month ago. Prescott said the team's equipment staff saved the ball for him – but he added that Bryant could keep the memento if he chose to.
"If he wants it, he can have it. I plan on getting many more," Prescott said. "We might cut it in half or something."
The touchdown put the game out of reach, for all intents and purposes, as it gave the Cowboys a three-score lead with little time remaining. It was enough of a cushion that Garrett pulled Bryant for the remainder of the night in an effort to rest him.
"We don't want any of those receivers playing every snap the whole game. We want to keep them fresh," Garrett said. "Some of those situations at the end were run-type situations where some of our receivers are digging out safeties and all that, so that was the reason as much as anything else."
It was hard to detect too much concern in the postgame locker room, especially after the Cowboys' first home win in more than a year. But it'll be a situation that bears monitoring as the Cowboys begin preparations for Week 4.