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Will Brian Waters Return This Season?

I don't know about you, but of all the depressing things that happened in Detroit last Sunday, the loss of Brian Waters hit me the hardest. Now there is word that Waters could be back before the end of the season.

Can The Warrior Return To Impact The Season/
Can The Warrior Return To Impact The Season/
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Over at the mothership, Bryce Mestas of Albuquerque, NM posed a question to the writers, wondering about the possibility that the Dallas Cowboys would allow starting right guard Brian Waters an opportunity to respond to treatment before making the decision to move him to injured reserve. That is the same question that has been running through my mind as well. Yes, I am well aware that Jerry Jones offered up his prognosis earlier this week that Waters was out for the season while speaking with 105.3 The Fan, but like anything else that comes out of the Valley Ranch Ministry of Misinformation, I take that with a grain of salt. Actions speak louder than words, and so far the absence of any moves to begin the process of filling Waters' slot indicates that the rest of the Cowboys brain-trust is holding out hope.

For those of you who read OCC's morning news links post (and if you don't, now would be a good time to start), you already know that there is speculation that Brian Waters could make his return later this season. The team seems willing to let him explore all options, after all, this season could be Brian's last in professional football.

"We just want to explore every option with him. He has that kind of impact on our football team, so when you have a guy like that you just want to check every avenue before you make any definitive comments, and then we’ll have to make a decision one way or another here in the next few days." - Jason Garrett

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According to published sources, Waters has indicated to the team that he would prefer to wait until after the Cowboys bye week, which follows this weekend's contest with the Minnesota Vikings and the week ten match-up with the New Orleans Saints, before making a decision about his injury status. This would allow him to have two full weeks of rehab time plus the bye week. In addition to his rehabilitation efforts, there may also be some other options out there for the Cowboys guard to try.

Although it is clear that the long-term answer is surgery, a source close to Waters has indicated that the six time Pro-Bowl offensive lineman is willing to consider delaying that until after the season if there is a possibility that he could manage to play effectively through the situation. For him to do that, Brian will need to focus on strengthening his triceps muscle and more than likely he will need to be fitted for some type of brace to help support his arm.

The biggest thing working against Waters may be his age. It is going to be a challenge for the 36-year-old player to recover from an injury in time to have an impact, but on the other hand, that could also work to his advantage. Brian Waters is clearly a "here and now" player for Dallas. The team does not need to worry about how the injury could bear upon his later career. There is a precedent for a veteran player returning from a similar injury to play a significant role in his team's season; last year the Baltimore Ravens' Ray Lewis returned in time to provide veteran leadership for the Super Bowl run. Like Lewis, in spite of the quality of his play, Brian Waters' biggest contribution to the Cowboys has been the presence he brings to the team.

"He plays really well after the ball is snapped. We’re certainly going to miss that. But we’re also going to miss his presence, his personality. He’s a veteran guy who I think in a lot of ways showed a relatively young offensive line how to do it each and every day. Just his demeanor, his physicality, just how he went about his job on a daily basis and certainly during the ball game was really impressive and I think contagious." - Jason Garrett

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