Cowboys won't restrict Bryant's hoop dreams

Cowboys won't restrict Bryant's hoop dreams

Published Aug. 21, 2012 3:14 p.m. ET

SAN DIEGO — It is commonplace in the NFL for teams to restrict players from offseason activities that might put them at injury risk. Skiing. Skydiving. That sort of thing.

But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones bristled at such a suggestion during an interview Tuesday with Dallas radio station KRLD-FM (105.3).

The topic was Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, whose passion for basketball matches his passion for football — which might have something to do with his patella tendonitis problem.

"He's a young player and should be able to do about anything that he wants to do," Jones said during the "New School" program. "I don't think it has anything to do with anything away from football.”

Bryant, a budding star entering his third season in the NFL, limped away from practice Monday in San Diego with a leg injury. The Cowboys immediately performed a magnetic resonance imaging exam on his right knee and the diagnosis came back as patella tendonitis — known in basketball as "jumper's knee."

Bryant and the Cowboys got off easy; Bryant needs to simply rest his knee. And while he isn't expected to play against the St. Louis Rams in the Cowboys' preseason game Saturday at Cowboys Stadium, he should be ready for the season opener Sept. 5 at the New York Giants.

"No, no, I'm all right!" Bryant told FOXSportsSouthwest. com as he entered the MRI room, and Jones said Bryant's prediction is correct.

"It sounds like he's going to be fine,” Jones said. "We'll see how it works. I would think he's probably going to be limited this weekend. We were quite relieved that he didn't have any structural damage there, and that's a good thing.”

It might also be a good thing to ask Dez — despite his youthful exuberance — to curtail the extracurricular activities. Last week, when the Cowboys left their Oxnard, Calif., training facility for a break on the beach, Bryant spent the entire time throwing around a football.

His passion for sports is a strength, and Cowboys coach Jason Garrett says he's "maturing" into being "the best football player he can be."

Part of that maturation means Dez doing everything possible to maintain his health. And, despite Jones' generous comments, it might mean less offseason basketball, too.