Cowboys optimistic about Owens

IRVING, TX -- The Dallas Cowboys are optimistic that wide receiver Terrell Owens will return to the lineup for next Sunday's divisional playoff game against the New York Giants.

Owens has been sidelined since suffering a high ankle sprain in the Cowboys' 20-13 victory over the Carolina Panthers on December 22.

By the time the Cowboys take the field next next week, however, he will have had three weeks to recover.

Owens did not play in Dallas' regular-season finale against the Washington Redskins while the Cowboys had a bye in the first round of the playoffs as the top seed in the NFC playoffs.

"I like where he is," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Friday on his radio show. "Our trainers are really satisfied with the progress he's making."

Earlier this week, Owens removed the boot he had been wearing since suffering the injury.

"The swelling, (there is) none detectable or relatively little," Jones added. "And when you compare that and the nature of his injury with the rehab of other players in similar situations, then we should be optimistic."

In 2004, while with the Philadelphia Eagles, Owens missed the last two games of the regular season and two playoff contests with a fractured ankle.

He returned for Super Bowl XXXIX, however, and caught nine passes for 122 yards.

This season, Owens caught 81 passes for a team-high 1,355 yards and 15 touchdowns in 15 games.