When an internal organ is injured, there are concerns far beyond football. Jerry Jones and Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett made that much clear when Jason Witten left Dallas’ preseason game against Oakland with a lacerated spleen.
The recovery timetable was uncertain at first, although it seemed likely that the tight end who has only missed one game throughout his entire nine-year career would miss another one on Sept. 5. The question, however, was if he would miss anything more than that, and if the injury would require surgery.
In a word, no. Just no.
Since his team is ravaged by injuries of the nagging, pulling, straining variety, the beginning of the 2012 season was starting to look like a bad time to be Tony Romo. Now it’s slightly better for both him and you. Smile? Yes, smile.
The most likely and best case scenario for Witten following his spleen laceration has been confirmed after he rested for a few days and let the cut heal, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that he won’t need surgery. This doesn’t change anything for Week 1 since even though doctors are confident Witten’s spleen will heal fine on its own, he’s still questionable for the season opener against the Giants.
As I often repeat, my medical degree doesn’t exist, but it’s reasonable to assume that with a delicate injury such as this, even a few days make a difference in terms of recovery time. That’s why for Witten owners and potential Witten owners, the Cowboys’ primetime game is still a stroke of bad luck. With the Giants teed up for a Wednesday night instead of the usual Sunday, Witten has four fewer days to heal.
But that’s a lesser concern, because his potential Week 1 absence necessitates some quick short-term planning, and your casual one-week injury fill in. We’re concerned with the other 15 games, because there were some early conservative estimates that had Witten possibly out until October. Had that been the case and he was set to miss a quarter of the season, there clearly would have been a need to bump Witten down on your draft boards from his current perch (fifth to sixth round), and beyond the likes of Fred Davis and Tony Gonzalez.
Now you can maintain the status quo, and you can be a little more confident in that Romo pick. But only a little, because Dez Bryant and Miles Austin still have the durability of a yet-to-be discovered material that’s far weaker than glass and styrofoam, and it’ll have no discernible purpose once it surfaces in a lab somewhere.