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Sunday, September 11, 2011
Updated: September 12, 9:21 AM ET
Dez Bryant suffers bruised quad

By Tim MacMahon
ESPNDallas.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The risk/reward debate about Dez Bryant as a return man will intensify at Valley Ranch this week after the Dallas Cowboys' budding star receiver bruised his quadriceps early in Sunday night's loss.

Bryant suffered the injury when he took a helmet to his left thigh on a 12-yard punt return after the New York Jets' first possession. He caught only one pass the rest of the game after making two catches for 45 yards and a touchdown on the Cowboys' opening possession.

Owner/general manager Jerry Jones strongly hinted that he didn't want Bryant to be used on returns anymore, noting that Bryant's rookie season ended prematurely when he broke his ankle on a kickoff return.

"I'm just saying he's getting hurt on returns," Jones said. "He got knocked out last year and got limited in this game on a punt return."

The temptation to use Bryant on returns, at least on a situational basis, is strong because he is so electrifying. He averaged 14.3 yards on 15 punt returns last season, including a pair of touchdowns.

The Cowboys have decided not to use Bryant on kickoff returns this season. He hopes they will continue to use him at least occasionally as a punt returner.

"I love doing it," said Bryant, who also battled cramps during a three-catch, 71-yard performance in the season opener. "I just feel like things happen. I love it a lot. I feel like any moment, I can make a big splash on it.

"But, hey, it's whatever Mr. Jones wants. If he don't want me doing it, it'd be sad. I would love to continue doing it, but hey, he makes the calls."

Tim MacMahon covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com.