Jason Garrett: Dez Bryant missed meetings, treatments after fearing worst

ByTodd Archer ESPN logo
Friday, September 30, 2016

FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, who avoided having an MRI initially because he was fearful the results would reveal bad news about his right leg injury,is not expected to play Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter on Thursday.

Coach Jason Garrett confirmed Thursday that Bryant missed an MRI, a treatment session and two team meetings. Bryant didn't undergo the MRI until Wednesday, and he was diagnosed with a hairline fracture of his tibial plateau in his right leg near the knee, according to a source.

Garrett remains hopeful that Bryant, who did not practice for the fourth straight day Friday, could still play against the 49ers on Sunday.

Bryant posted a message on Twitter on Thursday, saying he "understood the consequences." He also said he was "day to day" and got "great feedback" from Dr. James Andrews about his injury.

Garrett said the team had indirect conversations with Bryant during his absence, but he did not elaborate how. The coach also did not answer whether Bryant would be fined, other than to say there would be "repercussions" and that Bryant was "completely well intended" in his actions.

"He's a very, very passionate person. He loves football. He loves this team. He's a driven guy and his response to this was not the right one," Garrett said. "It was an understandable response given his personality and everything he puts into this.

"He's an emotional person and he didn't handle it the right way. What we have to do as a team is we have to handle it the right way. We understand where he was coming from and then we address it, we solve it, we move on. That's how we handle things here. And that's what we've done."

Bryant suffered the injury Sunday when his knee and ankle got caught under Bears linebacker Christian Jones during a tackle on the second play of the game from scrimmage. He had X-rays after the game and, according to Garrett, received information that had him suspecting "it was a serious injury."

The frustration of possibly missing significant time for the second straight year was apparently too much.

"It stems from someone who is very passionate about what he does, and he did not handle this the right way," Garrett said. "He expressed that to me. He expressed that to other coaches and teammates. You can understand why he did what he did, given the passion that he has for the game and for this football team and where he thought he was.

"I'm not excusing any behavior that he has. We address it. We solve it. We move on. There are repercussions for his action, and we move forward."

Bryant had surgery to repair a broken right foot after last year's season opener and missed the next five games (seven total). He also had a second bone graft during the offseason to help stabilize his foot.

"We're hopeful by the end of the week that he can do something," Garrett said. "He's moving around better and better. But again, we'll take his situation day by day."

If Bryant can't play Sunday, Brice Butler, who has one catch for 16 yards in three games, would move into the starting lineup.

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