Owens has plate, 3 screws put into broken hand

Tuesday, September 19th 2006, 8:42 am
By: News On 6

IRVING, Texas (AP) _ Terrell Owens has experience with this kind of thing: break bones, insert metal plate, heal enough to play in the big game.

He did it for the Eagles. Now he'll try to do it against the Eagles.

Owens, who broke his hand in Sunday night's game against Washington, had a plate screwed into the bone attached to his right ring finger during an operation Monday evening. His recovery time is estimated at two to four weeks, but he's likely to do all he can to rejoin the Dallas Cowboys in 20 days for his much-anticipated return to Philadelphia on Oct. 8.

Two seasons ago, when Owens was still welcome in the City of Brotherly Love, he played in a Super Bowl for the Eagles seven weeks after surgeons pieced together his broken ankle with a plate and several screws.

``Most of those injuries, when they put a plate in there, which I think they might do, that pretty much fixes it,'' coach Bill Parcells said Monday, before the surgery. ``Once they put that in there, it's not going anywhere, you're not going to displace it again. It's a matter of if you can get it functional.''

The Cowboys are off this Sunday, then play at Tennessee before the game against the Eagles.

If things go well, perhaps Owens plays against the Titans. If there are any setbacks, it's possible he doesn't return until the game after Philadelphia, Oct. 15 at home against Houston.

``I feel like I'm a quick healer,'' Owens said Sunday night. ``I'm going to try to get back as fast as I can.''

You have to figure Owens will do all he can to be on the field against the Eagles, hoping to get revenge against the team that banished him midway through last season only months after he helped them reach the Super Bowl.

And he does have a history of overcoming injuries faster than doctors expected, especially when motivated by a comeback game _ as evidenced by that Super Bowl against the New England Patriots. Owens caught nine passes for 122 yards in a loss.

``I'll bounce back,'' said Owens, adding he'll use his healing-inducing oxygen chamber to speed his recovery. ``I'll pretty much be in there throughout the clock.''

Owens was slow to heal from a preseason hamstring injury, but the stakes were certainly different. As it turns out, his long layoff benefits the Cowboys because raw backups Jamaica Rector and Sam Hurd got extra work that could now pay off.

Parcells said that because of the off week he wouldn't decide who takes Owens' place, if needed, until next week. He added that he's not interested in signing a veteran fill-in, opting to go with his youngsters.

``I'll be more hopeful that these guys come along,'' Parcells said. ``We put them on the team for a reason and, here you go, it's your opportunity.''

Another side effect of the injury is another interruption in the budding relationship between Owens and quarterback Drew Bledsoe. Parcells said Owens ``still has a little work to do'' to fully grasp the offense.

``But this is not an injury that's going to prohibit him from running and doing a lot of things that could really set him back conditioning-wise,'' Parcells said. ``So I think once he gets this thing in, he'll be pretty good to go physically, other than maybe the utilization of the hand for a while.''

Owens said the injury was a ``fluke thing'' that happened while blocking during one of the first few plays of Dallas' 27-10 victory Sunday night. He caught three passes for 19 yards, all in the first quarter, but also had several drops, including one in the end zone, and two penalties.

Parcells said he doesn't believe Owens' drops can be pinned on the injury, although he knows from experience how uncomfortable the receiver felt _ and perhaps why he didn't ask to have it examined until midway through the fourth quarter.

``I've had six bones broke in my own hand at one time, so I kind of have an idea what it is,'' Parcells said. ``You don't really know, first of all, that something is broken. You just know it's something hurting. You think maybe it's something else. You just go.''