Cowboys hurt rookie Bryant still catches balls

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Dez Bryant is still catching a few balls despite that bulky protective boot on his right foot.

Bryant caught a few light tosses from receivers coach Ray Sherman while standing on the sideline as the Dallas Cowboys‘ practice got started Monday. Once team drills got under way, the first-round pick was an observer watching with Sherman or another coach while the offense went through its plays.

Coach Wade Phillips said it’s still too early to determine how quickly Bryant could be back after sustaining a high right ankle sprain Friday. The initial prognosis was four to six weeks, which means the rookie receiver could miss the entire five-game preseason schedule.

“I think the first week is really the big determining factor on how quickly it’s going to heal. After that first week I think they can tell you a lot more about it,” Phillips said. “Stabilization is the important thing and that’s the first week.”

Phillips said the other of the Cowboys‘ injured top three draft picks could practice as early as Wednesday.

Linebacker Sean Lee, the second-round pick, has missed the past week with a strained quadriceps. Cornerback Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, the fourth-round pick, didn’t take part in offseason workouts because of shoulder surgery before the draft and hasn’t practiced at camp because of a hamstring injury.

Bryant appears to be moving with ease while wearing the boot that covers much of his lower leg below the knee. The only practice Bryant missed was Saturday morning, the first session after he got hurt, before returning that afternoon.

Phillips said there is no problem with the receiver moving around like he is.

“As long as he’s in that boot, there’s no problem there. It’s stabilized what they want to stabilize and that’s why he’s out there,” Phillips said. “He’s out there to see the plays and mentally get reps.”

If Lee returns to practice this week, he could possibly play in the preseason opener Sunday night against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Cowboys then play again the following Thursday at home against Oakland. Owusu-Ansah is less certain.

Lee is a little different case than Akwasi in that he’s been participating in everything. He went part of the first week here and he went to all of the OTAs,” Phillips said. “Akwasi hadn’t been in any of that. I would say that Akwasi would be later, maybe after the first two games.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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