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Dez Bryant is out 6-8 or 10-12 weeks, depending on who you ask

Dez Bryant is a logical selection for the injured/return list after a bone graft was reportedly needed during foot surgery.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant will be out much longer than initially expected after the surgery to repair his foot included a bone graft, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. While first estimates were that Bryant would miss 4-6 weeks with the foot injury, the bone graft means the timetable to return is now 10-12 weeks for the receiver, per Rapoport.

Bryant reportedly had a screw inserted in his foot and the use of a bone graft suggests that doctors didn't trust that the broken fifth metatarsal would heal on its own. A bone graft is a procedure that places new bone or bone substitutes as a sort of transplant for an injured or needy area.

Due to the severity of the procedure, Bryant is a logical candidate for the team's injured reserve with a designation to return. Dallas head coach Jason Garrett said on Friday that it wasn't the team's plan, though:

"I think you're always trying to assess how long a player is going to be out and the value of that guy,'' head coach Jason Garrett said. "In Dez's case, we want to give him every opportunity to be back as soon as he can.

"We're optimistic that he can be back soon. Obviously he's an impact player for us."

By placing a player on the injured/return list, they are ineligible to return for eight weeks, so Garrett's comments would indicate that the team believes Bryant could be back prior to Thanksgiving. Ed Werder of ESPN and Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram both reported that Bryant could return as early as six weeks and that the Cowboys are planning on him being back in eight weeks. It's unclear if he knew about the severity of Bryant's surgery, although Garrett's comments came four days after the receiver's surgery on Monday.

The Cowboys will rely on the trio of Jason Witten, Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams to continue to be productive and will ask more of Devin Street in Bryant's absence.

Bryant signed a five-year, $70 million deal with the Cowboys in July after the team used the franchise tag on him to prevent the receiver from reaching free agency. In the five seasons since he was picked in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Bryant has 386 receptions for 5,472 yards and 56 touchdowns.

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