Dez Bryant's Surgery Details: The Dallas Cowboys Plan For A Quick Recovery

PHILADELPHIA - We've got Dez Bryant's surgery details as the Dallas Cowboys map out a plan for a quick recovery for the All-Pro receiver.

Dez Bryant suffered a broken fifth metatarsal of his right foot last Sunday in the win over the Giants and almost immediately underwent surgery, just a day later, as part as an aggressive plan to return as quickly as possible.

Dez' own view on his plan to return?

"I can't wait to get back!'' he told me, adding that he believes his return can come in four-weeks' time.


That seemed wildly optimistic then. And with details about the nature of the surgery now being revealed, we have wild speculation. 

Remember what Dez himself wrote on Twitter on Monday ...

Both owner Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett have been talking about "four-to-six weeks.'' Sources now tell CHQ that "eight weeks or fewer'' is now the timetable. And some inside Valley Ranch remain hopeful about the six weeks.

Did the specifics of the surgery alter that timetable? I'm told by multiple sources that it did not.

CHQ medical expert Jeff Stotts helps us understand the break: 

The metatarsals are the long bones that comprise the foot and bridge the tarsal bones of the midfoot to the individual bones of the toe. As its name suggests, the fifth metatarsal is located on the outside of the foot, at the base of the pinkie or fifth toe. The fifth metatarsal serves as an anchor for several muscles, including the muscles responsible for moving the foot and outward as well as up and down. Unfortunately this makes the bone vulnerable to breaking when the ankle is forced inward, most commonly after making a hard cut or landing on the foot of another player.

The most serious of these breaks is the Jones fracture, an acute break that occurs near the base of the bone. Jones fractures are particularly problematic because the amount of available blood to the area is limited, stunting the healing process. As a result, Jones fractures generally require surgical intervention in hopes of avoiding a delayed union or nonunion.


Surgery -- often the installation of a screw to fasten the broken area together -- does not guarantee a speedy recovery and the odds of a re-fracture in the area are high. This is why, I'm told a bone graft was included in the procedure (as first reported by Ian Rapoport): It's an "insurance policy,'' as one person close to Dez tells me, adding that it's "not abnormal'' to do both the screw and the graft.

"The graft enhances the healing, that's what it's for,'' he adds.

This injury is associated with horror stories. NBA star Kevin Durant's name comes up after his recent lost season. And the possibilities of reinjury and failure here are real. 

However: I'm told the return-to-play time has been found to be similar whether a graft is part of the procedure or not, with the importance being that the odds of a refracture or "delayed union'' are reduced significantly.

Also: Since 2004, 25 NFL players have undergone this sort of surgery (with or without the graft) and their range of return was 5.9 weeks to 13.6 weeks. That's an averafe of 8.7 weeks. That's part of Dallas' optimism here. That optimism is reflected in the Cowboys' decision to not place him on the IR-Designated-To-Return list.

Bryant's chances of returning quickly are enhanced by aggressive rehab and his pre-injury condition. Contrary to one report, Bryant is in the best shape of his life. So "condition'' is good. And "aggressive'' is happening. Bryant, of course, does most everything "aggressively'' ...

Given that the ink on his five-year, $70-million contract with the team is barely dry, the Cowboys cannot afford to be foolish here. But they believe their approach to this surgery on the Pro-Bowl wideout affords them the chance to be optimistic. 

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