Austin strained his hamstring on August 4 during Dallas training camp in Oxnard, Calif., as noted by ESPNDallas.com's Todd Archer. On Tuesday, Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones told KRLD-FM, a local Dallas sports radio station, that Austin will not play until the team’s opening game against the New York Giants, via ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon.
The injury will certainly cause Cowboys fans to worry, as Austin suffered injuries to both hamstrings this past season, causing him to sit out six games.
Austin had a breakout year in 2009, pulling in 81 passes for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns. He broke the 1,000-yard threshold again in 2010 but only caught 43 passes for 579 yards this past season due to his hamstring problems. He did still manage to catch seven touchdown passes.
Bryant’s preseason injury woes are due to patellar tendonitis in his right knee, according to Archer and Calvin Watkins, both of ESPNDallas.com.
The report notes that Bryant left a joint practice session with the San Diego Chargers on Monday and was diagnosed following an MRI. The article also states that no decision has been made on when the wideout will return to practice.
Bryant is one of the most gifted wide receivers in the league, and he stepped up his production during his sophomore campaign. The 6’2”, 220-pound receiver caught 63 passes for 928 yards and nine touchdowns.
With Bryant and Austin—who is 6’2” and 217 pounds—on the field, quarterback Tony Romo has two large, athletic and productive targets to choose from. Without them, the team has a concerning amount of questions at the position.
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Archer and Watkins note that Saalim Hakim is also out with an injury, which makes Kevin Ogletree and Dwayne Harris the top two active receivers on the depth chart. Ogletree caught 15 passes last season, while Harris only contributed on special teams.
Another concern for Romo will be the injury of his favorite target—tight end Jason Witten. The Cowboys’ leading receiver a season ago lacerated his spleen in a preseason game against the Oakland Raiders, as reported by Archer, and there is no word on whether or not he will be available for the team’s Week 1 game.
Head coach Jason Garrett said in a press conference on Monday, “injuries provide opportunity,” via DallasCowboys.com. It appears that there will be no shortage of chances for players to shake up the depth chart in Dallas before the season starts.