FRISCO, Texas – Sunday might be too soon to see the return of Zack Martin, to hear it from Jerry Jones.
The Cowboys' owner/general manager made his regular appearance on 105.3 FM The Fan on Tuesday morning, where he was asked about the availability of his injured All-Pro guard. And while Jones wasn't so sure about Martin returning in time for Sunday's game against the New York Giants, he didn't rule it out as a future possibility.
"I'm dubious that he can be there this week, but I'm not about the future weeks," he said. "We've got a chance in the future. He will make, and can make, such a difference in this football team."
Obviously, that would hinge on a pair of success results this weekend. If the Cowboys beat the Giants on Sunday afternoon, they can clinch the NFC East with a Washington loss to Philadelphia on Sunday night.
And if they manage to make the postseason, it's encouraging to think they might be able to had Martin – arguably their best player – back to the roster.
"It really is the reason for a real optimistic thought about what happens if we could get in the playoffs," Jones said. "It's a real, valid, tangible thing to hang your hat on. He could change what we look like out there."
This has been the toughest season of Martin's distinguished career, as injuries prevented him from being named to the Pro Bowl for the first time. The six-time All-Pro was concussed in the Week 6 loss to Arizona and missed the ensuing loss to Washington.
Martin returned from that injury to start against Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Minnesota. The Cowboys moved him to right tackle for their Thanksgiving rematch against Washington, but he injured his calf after just 10 snaps.
The Cowboys placed Martin on injured reserve a full month ago, so he is eligible to return at any time. From the sounds of it, though, they'll need to keep their season alive on Sunday to have any hope of that happening.
"He's made a difference on any team he's ever been on, but this one he can make a tremendous difference," Jones said. "It's unlikely that we can have him this week, but in the future we could push it and it would give us a dramatic upgrade."