UPDATED: 8/31/2012, 5:31 EST: According to The Dallas Morning Star, Jason Witten's Week 1 availability is in serious doubt even if he is "medically cleared" to play.
Jason Witten has begun running routes and catching balls, which is a good sign, but he has yet to be allowed contact of any sort which is a bad sign.
The lacerated spleen injury Jason Witten suffered takes a good deal of time to heal and it also take a very gingerly approach. What this means for fantasy owners is this: do not plan to start Jason Witten in Week 1.
Your gonna have to use other options for your Week 1 TE starter. Jason Witten not being allowed contact this close to the September 5th regular season opener is a sure tip off that he will not be available - a scenario that could get worse.
On the "cup half full" side of things, Jason Witten would be afforded 10 extra days of healing if he does not play September 5th, so don't drop him just yet....just don't start the man.
Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten will take the next 10 days off while he deals with a lacerated spleen reports Albert Breer on Twitter. The injury in question happened after Witten was crushed by Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain in Monday night's preseason opener.
A lacerated spleen isn't quite as bad as a ruptured spleen but is still a very serious injury, one that could sideline Witten for several weeks of the regular season should he need surgery.
Jason Witten has always been a solid fantasy TE—a "safe pick" year in and year out if you will. The guy hasn't missed a game since 2003 either which makes this news a bit upsetting for many fantasy owners.
Witten didn't quite produce as much as many expected in 2011, catching just 79 balls for 942 yards and 5 TDs—respectable, but nothing close to his 2010 numbers. A lot of this had to do with the Cowboys utilizing their three wideouts as a force when they were all healthy at the same time.
This year, however, the Cowboys are without one of those receivers (Laurent Robinson-Jacksonville) and many expected to Cowboys to simply filter Witten back into the mix—a natural and somewhat accurate expectation.
If Witten is to require surgery, though, his overall potential will take a hit but DeMarco Murray, Miles Austin and Dez Bryant's value could all benefit from some additional work expectations—something to keep in mind.
As it stands right now, if you are participating in a draft over the next 10 days, it might be wise to drop Witten a few ticks in your rankings or find a suitable replacement altogether as a way of playing it safe.
If you can stand to wait this situation out, keep checking back here for further updates. As soon as we hear something, we'll let you know.
Cowboys TE Roster:
John Phillips - Primary Backup: Has shown some decent camp progression but is nothing more than flier material at this point.
James Hanna - Rookie: Familiar with spread style offense (Oklahoma) and possesses solid speed. Could make some noise as a special teamer.