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 IRVING, Texas (AP) -Tony Romo just lost another one of his receiving options for the Dallas Cowboys' season opener.
Sam Hurd, the No. 3 receiver behind Terrell Owens and Patrick Crayton, got an MRI exam Friday and was diagnosed with a high left ankle sprain. The team said Hurd, the third Cowboys receiver hurt in the last three preseason games, won't play Sept. 7 at Cleveland.
Hurd was injured on the opening drive of the preseason finale, when he landed awkwardly after being tackled from behind at the end of a 35-yard reverse in the Cowboys' 16-10 victory over Minnesota.
Miles Austin (sprained right knee) and Isaiah Stanback (dislocated shoulder) were already out. Austin could be sidelined for another month after getting hurt covering a kickoff two weeks ago in Denver, and Stanback was injured returning a kickoff against Houston.
Owens and Crayton didn't play in the preseason finale, and coach Wade Phillips acknowledged the two could be the only active wideouts for the opener. If that's the case, who would be in the No. 3 spot?
How about four-time Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten, who already splits wide in several formations.
``Witten can be a third receiver, obviously. He's a force as a pass receiver,'' Phillips said. ``There's no reason you can't give it a Colts look where you've got Witten in the slot like they do with (Dallas) Clark. Witten's a force out there, so he can be a third receiver if we need him too.''
Witten is already a favorite target of close friend Romo. Witten had a team-high 96 catches - 15 more than T.O. - for 1,145 yards and seven touchdowns last season, and has averaged 69 catches over his five NFL seasons.
With tight ends Tony Curtis and rookie Martellus Bennett, the team's second-round pick, having productive camps, the Cowboys have confidence in moving Witten into the slot even more often if that's needed.
Plus, the Cowboys throw a lot to their running backs, and rookie Felix Jones has impressed with his ability to catch the ball.
Hurd, who had 19 catches for 314 yards and a touchdown last season, wasn't among the 28 Dallas players who got a break and didn't play Thursday night. He limped to the sideline after the sixth play of the game.
``We weren't going to play him a very long time, and he got hurt on the first drive,'' Phillips said. ``I guess you could second-guess that.''

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