Owens has plate, three screws put into broken hand

Monday, September 18th 2006, 4:53 am
By: News On 6

IRVING, Texas (AP) _ Terrell Owens played in a Super Bowl for Philadelphia seven weeks after getting a plate and several screws put in his ankle. Now he's hoping another plate and three more screws in his right hand will enable him to play against the Eagles on Oct. 8.

Owens had a plate screwed into his broken 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.

``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 over Washington on 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.''

Extra points: Parcells said penalties cost 148 yards, which he equates to ``about 10 points'' and the reason the game was close for so long. He got that figure by their 60 yards in penalties against the offense and the 88 yards that would've been gained on plays negated by those flags. ... Marion Barber III needed three tries to score from the 1-yard line, the last one coming on fourth down. Why didn't Parcells go for a field goal? ``I thought if the ball was at the 1 or inside we would go for it,'' he said. ``If it had been on the 2-yard line, I would have kicked.'' He added that the play called on fourth down was the same one used on second down, when Barber leaped and was flipped by the defense. ... More on the RBs: Parcells blamed himself for leaving in oft-injured starter Julius Jones once the outcome seemed sealed. As for the reason he didn't give Tyson Thompson more than one carry, Parcells said: ``When you're up to your rear in alligators, you can't be talking about draining the swamp.''