I mentioned this in the re-cap last night, but it looks like rookie wide receiver Dez Bryant's season is now over. While returning a kickoff in the Colts game, Bryant had his ankle rolled-up on a tackle and fractured the bone. He may require surgery according to the post-game report given to Jerry Jones by the team's athletic trainers.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the postgame information he received from team medical staff did not include the severity of the fracture or whether surgery will be required, but that Bryant's season was likely over.
Surgery this week does appear to be an option.
It's really too bad for Bryant and the Cowboys; the first-round pick was having a great season. Bryant's stats stand at 45 catches for 561 yards and six touchdowns. He was also a force on special teams with two punt returns for touchdowns. Even more than that, he was becoming a focal point for opposing defense's game plans, as we saw in the Saints game on Thanksgiving Day. With Miles Austin, Roy Williams and Jason Witten all capable of doing damage, the emergence of Bryant was causing a huge dilemma for defensive coordinators. There just weren't enough guys in coverage to handle all those threats.
With Byrant out, Sam Hurd jumps up in the pecking order and will likely take over the third-receiver position. Hurd has always been a great special teams player, but he's also done a solid job when called on to fill-in on offense. He obviously doesn't have the physical talents that Bryant has - the explosiveness and the incredible hand-eye coordination and body control. Hurd is more of a possession receiver, but he can be counted on to run the correct routes and to catch the ball when thrown his way.
Another guy who could benefit from Bryant's absence is Kevin Ogletree. He ascends to the number four receiver position, and may be used as the third receiver in certain situations. Ogletree does posses the speed and ability to be a deep threat. He's shown in flashes that he can produce, now we'll see if the Cowboys turn to him more now, and if he can produce consistently over the last four games of the season.
On special teams, Bryan McCann will likely take over all the return duties that he was sharing with Bryant.
It was a great start to Dez Bryant's career, he proved that he was worthy of the Cowboys selecting him in the first round. He showed that other teams made a mistake by passing on him and allowing him to fall to the Cowboys. Starting again in 2011, Bryant will continue to make defenses pay.