Jason Witten has two catches in win

Updated: September 6, 2012, 4:01 AM ET
By Todd Archer | ESPNDallas.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Just 23 days after suffering a lacerated spleen, tight end Jason Witten had two catches for 10 yards Wednesday in the Dallas Cowboys' season-opening, 24-17 win over the New York Giants.

Witten played in the 140th straight game of his career by making it out to the regular-season opener. A specialist in New York gave the Cowboys the clearance for Witten to play.

"I tried to keep my composure pretty good," Witten said when he found out he was cleared, "but I was like a kid on Christmas Day, to say the least."

He was not listed among the team's seven inactive players.

"We just got our information together and it was good and that's how he's out there, but the detail of timing and anything like that we're not going to get into," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said before Wednesday night's game.

Witten was cleared medically to play, and after a pregame workout at MetLife Stadium, the team gave the seven-time Pro Bowler the OK to suit up against the Giants.

The tight end did not fly with the team to New Jersey on Tuesday but arrived later that night, as he had a second scan on his spleen in a week.

Witten was limited in three practices this week, knowing he would need the doctors to clear him to play. The Cowboys had been considering holding him out until Sept. 16 at Seattle with 11 days between the Giants game and Week 2.

Witten suffered the injury on Aug. 13 after a first-quarter hit from Oakland linebacker Rolando McClain. He went to a hospital in Oxnard, Calif., the next day after reporting added soreness and was diagnosed with the lacerated spleen. He was told to sit still for most of the next week and only began to increase his physical work last week.

Witten has missed only one game in his career -- Oct. 12, 2003 versus Philadelphia -- because of a broken jaw and has played through assorted rib, knee and ankle injuries.

With Witten, Tony Romo had his most trusted target and his top two wide receivers, Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, available to him for the first time in pads since early in training camp.

Austin missed all but a week of training camp with a strained hamstring but finished with four catches for 73 yards and a touchdown. Bryant missed the final two preseason games with knee tendinitis but still managed four receptions for 85 yards.

Cornerback Mike Jenkins was among the Cowboys' seven inactives.

Jenkins was not cleared to practice until last weekend after rehabilitating from offseason shoulder surgery. He missed Saturday's practice due to a migraine headache and was a limited participant in the next two practices.

The other inactives: nose tackle Jay Ratliff (high ankle sprain), safety Danny McCray (neck strain), safety Matt Johnson (hamstring), outside linebacker Kyle Wilber (broken thumb), guard/center David Arkin and tight end Colin Cochart.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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