Saturday, July 31, 2010
Jones: Injury reaction wasn't criticism
By Tim MacMahon ESPNDallas.com
SAN ANTONIO -- Jerry Jones doesn't regret his comments that suggested rookie Dez Bryant's workload might have put him at risk for injury, but the Dallas Cowboys' owner insists he didn't intend to rip his coaching staff.
Bryant suffered a high-ankle sprain on the second-to-last play of Friday's practice and is out four to six weeks. Just before the team's second practice started Saturday afternoon, Bryant was wearing a protective boot on his right foot when he momentarily came out of the tunnel onto the field. He waved to cheering fans on his way back out of sight.
Jones brought up then the possibility that the receiver may have been worn down from heavy training camp activity, making him susceptible to injury.
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After sleeping on it, Jones said he didn't intend to jump all over the coaching staff, but he didn't back off his comments, either.
"I'm not being critical," Jones said after Saturday morning's practice at the Alamodome. "What I'm being is analytical, or trying to be analytical.
"This is when you all sit down and look at everything you're doing and see if there's some things you can do to help protect your team better, especially during this time five to six weeks away from the opening game."
That's always been a priority for coach Wade Phillips during training camp, which is why the Cowboys don't tackle except for in games. Phillips has even been criticized for not pushing his team hard enough during camp, with some media members mockingly referring to the first trip during the Alamodome under Phillips' watch as Camp Cupcake.
"Wade's one of the best that I've ever been around at this," Jones said.
After watching a replay of Orlando Scandrick falling on Bryant's ankle, causing an injury that will sideline the first-round pick for the rest of training camp, Jones wondered aloud to ESPN's Chris Mortensen whether the Cowboys were overworking Bryant.
"The key thing is you ask yourself, 'Are we pushing him too hard; does it happen at the end of practice when the players are tired?' " Jones said Friday to Mortensen, adding, "We all know now when you get a little tired you can get injured."
Bryant's coaches didn't seem to be concerned about the issue Saturday.
"I don't think he's overworked," receivers coach Ray Sherman said. "We divide the reps up with everybody. It was just one of those freak things. He didn't pull a hamstring or anything like that. It was just one of those freak things where a guy fell on his leg. It was just one of those freak things."
Added offensive coordinator Jason Garrett: "It's always been something that we try to monitor with our players, how many snaps they're getting. We do that with all our guys. That hasn't been an issue that's come up."
Bryant said he should be ready to play by the season opener Sept. 12 at Washington.
"I feel real good," Bryant said while walking into the locker room. "There's no disappointment. I'm fine. I'm having a good time. I feel great."
Tim MacMahon covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag. Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.