Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 8/25/12

The Dallas Cowboys are yet to release an official timeline for the return of injured tight end Jason Witten.

ESPN prematurely reported Witten was cleared by team doctors from needing surgery on a lacerated spleen the tight end suffered in the Cowboys' first preseason game against the Oakland Raiders. 

Things are rather uncertain at this point when it comes to Witten's availability for opening night against the New York Giants. What's worse is Witten isn't the only injury issue the Cowboys are dealing with. 

Receiver Miles Austin is sitting out the remainder of the preseason, but is expected be ready for Week 1. With Austin's injury history to date it is difficult to expect him to remain on the field for all 16 games. 

Wide receiver Dez Bryant was diagnosed with a form a tendinitis this preseason, and the diagnosis could mean more recurring knee injuries down the line. 

If the injuries keep hitting the Cowboys' offense in the regular season, poor Tony Romo will be left with no-name receivers and less talented options on the field. Romo put together an outstanding season in 2011 and played through a shoulder injury at one point and he is going to need his top targets to stay on the field in 2012. 

The Cowboys' defense was sickening to watch in 2011. DirecTV commercials for NFL Sunday Ticket feature Cowboys cornerback Terrence Newman being hurdled in embarrassing fashion. A lovely reminder of how the defense cost the Cowboys big time last year. 

Romo looked great spreading the ball around in 2011. He found Jesse Holley for a big catch to help win the San Francisco game, and turned Laurent Robinson into a million dollar receiver after he was cut from the San Diego Chargers.

All impressive, but it didn't get the Cowboys to the playoffs.

The Cowboys addressed issues at corner, and to date the first-team defense is pitching a shutout. Let's just hope the injuries don't keep the offense from living up to its full potential. It isn't fair to Romo. 

He is an elite-level quarteback with a lot of bad luck right now. If all his options are healthy, the Cowboys could be Super Bowl bound. After all, only one game separated them and the Giants in the regular season last year.

Giants fans hate hearing it, but they got lucky. Very lucky.



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