IRVING, Texas (AP) – Thanks to the timing of the bye week, Terrell Owens might not miss any games because of his broken hand.

Owens broke the bone leading to his right ring finger Sunday night and had a plate surgically attached to it Monday. Although Owens’ hand was swollen and aching Wednesday, Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said he’s optimistic the receiver will be back at work next week and catching passes a week from Sunday against Tennessee.

“I certainly wouldn’t rule it out now,” Parcells said. “Maybe five days from now I might, but I wouldn’t rule it out now. … I know we’re looking to try to get him moving around pretty good in the next day or so. So we’ll see where we are.”

Owens did not speak with reporters Wednesday, but said Sunday he’d be out two to four weeks. A return against the Titans would be 13 days after the surgery.

Emmitt Smith had the same procedure done to the same bone on the same hand in 1999. He played 12 days later, missing one game because the Cowboys’ bye didn’t happen to fall in between. Of course, Smith had it easier because he carried the ball instead of having to catch it, and he favored his left hand anyway.

Another potential factor could be how much the Cowboys (1-1) feel they need Owens to beat the Titans (0-2). Having Owens would certainly help, but not if it might compromise his chances of playing the following weeks.

While T.O. certainly doesn’t want to miss the game after that – Oct. 8, in Philadelphia, against his previous employers – the Cowboys also want him for a five-game run starting Oct. 23 that includes a home game against the New York Giants, road games at Carolina, Washington and Arizona, then home against Indianapolis.

Tight end Jason Witten said he’d be surprised if Owens misses the chance to play against the Eagles.

“I think that he’s going to be back sooner rather than later,” Witten said.

Parcells seems to think the only holdup with Owens will be pain management. Although anti-pain medicine made Owens ill Wednesday, the receiver showed his toughness by playing in the February 2005 Super Bowl seven weeks after ankle surgery.

“Once you put the plate in there’s no risk of it being displaced again,” Parcells said. “So now it’s a question of when you can withstand that trauma or pain of catching the ball. Once he can do that, he’ll be good to go. So we’ll just see how quickly that comes along.”

Parcells seems to be leaning toward undrafted rookie Sam Hurd taking Owens’ place, if T.O. can’t go. Parcells would prefer to plug one person into Owens’ split end job rather than move Terry Glenn or Patrick Crayton, then have to use someone else in their place.

“I’m not going to screw up two positions,” Parcells said.

Hurd played against Washington, but didn’t have any passes thrown his way. He won a roster spot with a strong preseason aided by his post-practice workouts with Owens.

“I don’t really think the game is too big for him,” Parcells said. “Just because he’s replacing a more proven player that doesn’t make his job any different. That’s what he’s here for. We kept him on the roster with the hope that he would be able to fill in. He hasn’t disappointed us.”

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