Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said tight end Jason Witten has a “slightly lacerated,” or cut, spleen that will require him to limit his activity for the next week to 10 days.
He won’t practice during that time and will miss the next two preseason games at a minimum.
“Asking Witt to be still and idle is a hard thing. That’s the biggest challenge right now,” Garrett said Wednesday with a touch of a smile, but he acknowledged the serious nature of the injury. “He can’t do any jogging, anything where he’s kind of moving up and down where you could inflame that or have that laceration grow in any way. We want to make sure it heals properly and shrinks. Him being idle is a big part of that. And then we’ll reassess it next week after we’ve had a few days of him not doing anything.”
The spleen produces white blood cells, which are the body’s defense against infection, stores red blood cells and platelets and filters the blood. The organ, under the rib cage on the left side of the body, can swell, be punctured or cut when it is hit. A bleeding spleen is dangerous because of the amount of blood it handles, but the organ also generally heals well.
The Cowboys are hoping the cut heals on its own, preventing surgery.
Garrett said he hasn’t put much thought yet into whether Witten will be available for the Sept. 5 season opener against the New York Giants in three weeks.
“Jason has gotten off to a tremendous, tremendous start to training camp and laid a great foundation for himself, not only in the offseason, but for the first couple of weeks of camp,” Garrett said. “He’s looked as good as I’ve seen him look since I’ve been around him. So I don’t think this, at the end of the day, him being away from our football team, and off the practice field, is going to be that detrimental to him. In fact, I think it’s going to allow him to get his legs back a little bit, and be fresh and ready to go.”
Fourth-year tight end John Phillips will go in Witten’s place. Phillips is recovering from an ankle injury, and Wednesday is his first practice since sustaining the injury last week.
-- Carlos Mendez