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Owens expects quick return; so does Parcells

IRVING, Texas (Sept. 18, 2006) -- Terrell Owens is likely to have a plate screwed into his broken right ring finger, a move Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells believes could get his new receiver back on the field quickly.

Perhaps even in time for his much-anticipated return to Philadelphia on Oct. 8.

"Most of those injuries, when they put a plate in there, which I think they might do, that pretty much fixes it," Parcells said. "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."

Owens was expected to have the procedure done Sept. 18 or 19. As of early this afternoon, Parcells said he hadn't been told when it would happen.

The initial prognosis was for Owens to be out 2-4 weeks. The Cowboys have a bye Sept. 24, then will 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 don't think they'll be able to determine that until after the surgery," Parcells said.

You have to figure Owens will do all he can to try getting revenge on the Eagles, the team that banished him midway through last season only months after helping them reach the Super Bowl.

And he does have a history of overcoming injuries faster than doctors expected, primarily coming back for that Super Bowl seven weeks after a broken ankle.

"I feel like I'm a quick healer," Owens said after the game. "Once we have the surgery, the healing process will start."

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 bye he wouldn't decide who takes Owens' place, if needed, until next week.

Owens said the injury was a "fluke thing" that happened while blocking during one of the first few plays of Dallas' 27-10 victory against Washington. 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."

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2006, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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