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Mailbag: Being Cautious With Dez? Effectiveness After Return From Injury?

JIN LEESEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
Everyone seems to believe that the Cowboys will be alright as long as they can stay within striking distance until they get Romo and Bryant back from injuries. But is it realistic to believe that Romo and Bryant will be in mid-season form when they get back?

Rob: It's fair to assume there will be rust involved for both early on, yes. I think a little more about Bryant here in terms of conditioning just because he missed a good portion of training camp with a hamstring injury, too. But the way he works, I wouldn't be too concerned about that. I believe they can split these next four games until Romo's eligible to return, but as soon as Bryant's ready to go, his presence alone will make a difference for Matt Cassel and the passing game.

David: It's a great point. This isn't a video game, and these guys aren't guaranteed to be fully healthy just because they're cleared to play. Both players I think will have an adjusting period as they get acclimated and get comfortable with their respective injuries. That said, I'd still take a slightly-hampered Tony Romo and Dez Bryant over a lot of other options.

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KYLE BOUCHARDOGDENSBURG, NY

I've been reading comments that say the Cowboys shouldn't rush Dez Bryant back because there is a chance of re-injury if he comes back too soon. I think you play him when he's ready and you can't afford to sit him out because you're worried he'll get hurt again. He could get hurt at any moment doing any little thing, and the Cowboys are in a position where they need to take advantage of this small window and win games. What are your thoughts on the chance of re-injury for Dez?*

Rob: You can't look at this with only a short-term view in mind. Foot injuries for a wide receiver – especially one as gifted as Dez Bryant, whom you committed $70 million to over the summer – are nothing to mess around with. The Cowboys have Dez under contract for five years, not just Week 7 of this season. In a lot of ways, he and Romo are the franchise, and their absence not surprisingly is a big reason the Cowboys have lost three straight. Dez is in good hands with the medical and athletic training staff, and he'll play when the injury's healed and he's comfortable/functional on the field.

David: Yes, this is football, and anything can happen on any given play. But that's not an excuse to ignore a serious injury to a very important body part. Dez needs his feet to be able to do just about every aspect of his job, and if he runs the risk of re-aggravating the injury, it's not worth it. Julio Jones tried his luck in this situation two years ago and had to be sent to injured reserve. As badly as they want him out there, they need to make sure it's a smart call – not just for 2015, but the years to come.

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