OXNARD, Calif. — Jason Witten is going to have to get used to not doing much of anything if he wants to play in the season opener next month.
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday that his Pro Bowl tight end sustained a "slightly lacerated" spleen in the preseason opener Monday night against Oakland. The best way for Witten to heal is to remain as inactive as possible.
"It's a very serious injury and we're really taking this thing day by day," Garrett said. "He has to be very still and idle for the next week to 10 days, so you won't see him out here on the practice field. He won't play in the game this week or next week. We've just got to make sure he heals as well as possible, as quickly as possible."
Witten is expected to miss the rest of the preseason, starting with Saturday night's game at San Diego. The Cowboys open the season in three weeks, Sept. 5, at the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
The coach said doctors will reassess Witten next week "after we've had a few days of him not doing anything." Surgery would be an option if the spleen isn't healing properly by then.
Witten apparently got hurt after he caught a pass from a scrambling Tony Romo and was immediately hit from the side by Oakland linebacker Rolando McClain. The play resulted in a 2-yard loss.
Witten has missed only one game in his nine NFL seasons. That was during his rookie season in 2003 when he had a broken jaw.
"Asking Wit to be still and idle is a hard thing, that's the biggest challenge right now. But he has to do that, he just has to let time heal it," Garrett said. "Jason has gotten off to a tremendous, tremendous start to training camp and laid a great foundation for himself. ... He's looked as good as I've seen him look since I've been around him."
Witten is a seven-time Pro Bowler who is one of Romo's favorite targets. His 696 career receptions are second in team history to Michael Irvin.