The Dallas Cowboys are considering holding TE Jason Witten out of the season opener against the Giants even if he is medically cleared to play, owner and general manager Jerry Jones told KRLD-FM on Friday.
Witten is close to getting back to practice and could soon be medically cleared to play in the season opener against the New York Giants on Wednesday. The Dallas Cowboys tight end suffered a lacerated spleen on Aug. 13 in the first preseason game against Oakland and is schedule to meet with doctors against early next to determine if he can be cleared for contact.
Witten has been running and catching balls in practice this week and was working on the resistance cords on Monday.
Jerry Jones, however, says the team needs to weigh the risks of having Witten come back too early, even if cleared to play. The Cowboys have ten days off between the Giants game and the Week 2 game against Seattle, a period that Jones says could be vital to the player's long-term health.
"It's ultimately our decision because no one can go on the field if I don't want him on there and certainly that holds true for the head coach as well," Jones said. "Now obviously we're here to win the ballgames but not at the cost of the literal well-being - well-being - of any individual. The other thing is we make a decision to whether it's smart or not if we can gain on it, in this case gain another 10 days at least before we play Seattle, which would be no contact here for the Giants game."
Jones acknowledged just how tough it will be to keep Witten off the field, saying he's never seen any as "driven" as the veteran tight end.