EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -Plaxico Burress has become an expert on playing with a sprained ankle over the past two seasons.
The New York Giants receiver played in 2006 on a gimpy left ankle that had to be surgically repaired after the season, and he's done the same thing on a sprained right one this year.
It's no wonder Burress gladly offered the Cowboys' Terrell Owens some free advice about getting on the field with his sprained ankle Sunday against the Giants:
``Don't play!'' Burress said with a straight face that lasted a couple seconds.
It broke up his news conference Wednesday.
Owens' status has been one of the major topics heading into Sunday's game in Dallas. The 12-year veteran who had 81 catches for 1,355 yards and an NFC-high 15 touchdowns suffered a high left ankle sprain against Carolina on Dec. 22 and has not practiced since.
Burress and the rest of the Giants have no doubt Owens will be ready on Sunday in Dallas. The five-time All-Pro - he got his fifth nod Wednesday - has been one of the difference makers in two wins over New York this season, catching nine passes for 212 yards and four touchdowns (22, 25, 47, 50 yards).
Burress doesn't mind that Owens is getting all the attention this week.
``We're going down there to win a football game,'' Burress said. ``We are not really concerned about the whereabouts of one particular person on that team.''
For the Giants (11-5), there is little chance they would be in this position without Burress. The eight-year veteran led the teams with 70 catches for 1,026 yards and a career-high 12 touchdowns.
What has made the performance so remarkable was Burress practiced less than 10 times this season. He sprained his right ankle early in training camp and has spent the season on the injury report, many weeks a game-time decision whether he would play.
``It's been difficult at times because you don't know how it's going to feel on a day-to-day basis,'' said Burress, who didn't practice again Wednesday. ``Sometimes it feels better, sometimes worse. I just keep a positive mind frame about it.
``Just try to heal it up and get it better and don't use it as an excuse,'' he added. ``I can go out and play well, or don't play well and just be humble about it. It's a tough thing to play with.''
Burress said his current injury involves a ligament, but it won't require surgery.
Unlike Owens, Burress had two very different games against the Cowboys (13-3) this season. In the opener at Dallas, he had eight catches for 144 yards and a career-best three touchdowns. Dallas adjusted in the second game and limited him to four catches for 24 yards.
Burress said the play calls in the second game included a number of deep patterns aimed at getting the big play. He had a 60-yard TD catch in the season opener.
The Cowboys were ready for that.
``This is basically just saying that they weren't going to let me have any big plays or go deep or anything like that,'' Burress said. ``So there are always things that we can do different to counter that. So I'll just sit back and wait and be patient.''
Tampa Bay employed a similar philosophy against Burress last weekend in the Giants' 24-14 win in the NFC wild-card game. Burress finished with four catches for 38 yards.
However, Eli Manning took the short throws the Bucs' defense offered and found Amani Toomer seven times for 74 yards and a touchdown.
``If we are getting the ball out quickly, if we are getting completions and first downs, then that is all we want,'' said Manning, who completed 20 of 27 throws for 185 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. ``If something presents itself and we have a chance to take a shot, then you take it. Sometimes you call plays to take a shot, but nothing is there and you have to go underneath. So it just all depends on particular plays, what the defense is.''
Burress has learned to be patient this year, both with his ankle and his chances.
``I'm impressed. I'm definitely impressed,'' Toomer said of Burress' play. ``Not being able to practice and then performing at a high level in games, that's tough. I've been in situations where I couldn't practice and it affected me. It didn't seem to affect him at all.''
It will be interesting to see how it affects Owens on Sunday.

Recent NFL Discussions

Carolina Wise Guy.....What? on Thu, Feb 2017 by Timmy1961
SUPER BOWL PLAY on Mon, Feb 2017 by MichaelF12
2017 NFL Draft Props on Fri, Feb 2017 by Blade
Handicapping Week 1 on Fri, Feb 2017 by Blade
Blade what time do you get up on Thu, Feb 2017 by Blade
Advertisement

Top NFL Public Bets

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail Krik Cousins Next Team Prop Odds Which team will Kirk Cousins be playing for in Week 1 of the 2017 NFL regular season?
Thumbnail Tony Romo Next Team Prop Odds Which team will Tony Romo play for when the 2017 NFL regular season begins? Oddsmakers have weighed in.
Thumbnail Taylor could be fit in Cleveland Could current Bills Tyrod Taylor be a fit for the quarterback-needy Browns next season?
Thumbnail Palmer, Fitz both returning for Cards The Arizona Cardinals will have their starting quarterback back for 2017, as Carson Palmer confirmed he will return to play next season.
Thumbnail AFC Championship Odds In no surprise, the Patriots are favored to win the 2018 AFC Conference Championship over the Steelers and the rest of the field.

NFL Team Pages