How Jason Garrett handled the injuries

September, 26, 2011
9/26/11
9:04
AM ET
IRVING -- Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was in a difficult situation last week. His starting quarterback, wide receivers and running back were hurt.

Garrett knew the NFL season wasn't going to pause while he had health issues to deal with. So Garrett did the best thing: He took advantage of the extra day to prepare for the Monday night game vs. the Washington Redskins and gave his team another day off. He also shortened practice, and the Cowboys weren't in full pads all week.

The Cowboys took Tuesday and Wednesday off last week to get numerous players a chance to get more treatment.

Tony Romo (ribs and lung), Felix Jones (dislocated shoulder), Dez Bryant (bruised thigh), Jason Witten (bruised ribs), Miles Austin (hamstring), Bill Nagy (neck), Derrick Dockery (fractured leg, sprained knee), Mike Jenkins (bruised shoulder and hyperextended knee), Orlando Scandrick (ankle), Tyron Smith (hyperextended knee), Phil Costa (sprained knee), Anthony Spencer (shoulder) and Terence Newman (groin) used an extra day of treatment to get well.

Romo and Bryant were the biggest injuries on offense. Romo was trying to recover from a small puncture in his lung and a fractured rib. The lung is healed, a CT scan revealed Thursday. However, the rib isn't. Romo was able to get fitted for a vest that will give him some protection should he get hit Monday night vs. the Redskins.

Witten, who has bruised ribs, also got fitted for one as well.

Bryant needed more time with the trainers to loosen up that bruised thigh. Cowboys officials thought Bryant could play in Week 2 vs. the 49ers, but he couldn't get the leg loose in warmups.

No need for that Monday, because the treatment sessions he underwent this week should allow him to participate vs. the Redskins.

It will be interesting to see if Bryant wears thigh pads vs. the Redskins. There is a thought that thigh pads, rarely used anymore, could have helped Bryant from getting hurt vs. the Jets in Week 1. The pads might have absorbed the blow.

Newman and Jenkins are the biggest injuries on defense.

Jenkins is still recovering from a bruised shoulder, suffered when he was blindsided in the Jets game. Jenkins also has a hyperextended knee that is getting better. Jenkins said he needed the time off to heal because he's going to be sore for a while.

Newman, when asked about the groin injury that has kept him out this season, said: "It works. It's attached."

Newman showed some good lateral movement and even fielded some punts in practice last week. The extra day was also good for him.

Regardless of what happens tonight, give Garrett credit for trying to help his team recover from its numerous injuries.

"Jason is smart in the way that he's handled that as far as the length of our practice," linebacker Keith Brooking said. "We weren't in pads and he gave us a couple of days off. It was more important Wednesday for guys to be in the training room getting treatment, doing the things that are necessarily to come back from injuries as quickly as possible."
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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