Dez Bryant is out of his walking boot and participating in limited fashion during practices in Oxnard. Bryant even speculated that he was in good position to play in two preseason games.
"This is the biggest step. The boot is missing," Bryant said. "The way my ankle is feeling, it feels great. I am healing real fast. I feel I've got a big shot to come back for the Houston game."
"No pain at all,'' said Bryant, who injured his right ankle on July 30. "I'm fine. At the same time, I still know I can't cut the way I want.
"It doesn't hurt when I cut. It doesn't give out. I feel like I don't get enough push.''
Today, Jerry Jones lowered expectations by saying that Bryant could miss the last two preseason games after all.
[Bryant] says he needs the work and wants to get re-acclimated with his teammates. Jones wants that as well. But he said he doesn't know if it's worth the risk.
"We have got to watch getting too overanxious with him," Jones said. "But yet we know it would be helpful to him to get him work and get him in a couple of these preseason games. It's going to be a decision that is additive to a medical decision, no matter how we look at it."
The trickiest part of the decision is that the two preseason games are bunched together just four days apart, with a ten day break until the regular season opener. With an injury originally estimated at 4-6 weeks and almost exactly six weeks from the opener, Bryant may have been destined all along to return after the last preseason game.
Whenever he does return, Joe DeCamillis sees a star return man.
"Some guys just have a great feel of seeing the field. They make the catch and they can see the field, they can see blocks happening -- not the one in front of them, but the one two blocks down the field. If they can do that, they've got a chance to be great, and I think he's got a chance to be great. The other thing about him is he's just so strong. When you watched his film in college, there were very few times when one guy was going to bring him down.
"Of the guys that are going right now, I would compare him to [Cleveland's ] Joshua Cribbs. That's kind of what he looks like. I'm not going to put that kind of pressure on him yet, but that's what he looks like. He's going downhill all the time and he's making contact. He's not afraid of contact."