Dez Bryant misses playing

IRVING, Texas -- Cowboys rookie wide receiver Dez Bryant is out for the season with a fractured right ankle.

Bryant finished his season with 45 catches for 561 yards and six touchdowns and he also had two punt returns for scores.

Bryant hasn't spoken to the media since he was injured Dec. 5 at Indianapolis.

As he was leaving the Cowboys locker room on Thursday, Bryant was using crutches to get around.

"I do miss playing," Bryant said briefly.

Bryant isn't wearing a protective boot and didn't say when he will shed the crutches.

It's been an up and down season for the rookie on and off the field.

It started in training camp when he dazzled the Cowboys players and coaches with his ability to catch all sorts of passes. He displayed all sorts of body control and speed. But a controversy developed between him and Roy E. Williams. Bryant refused to carry Williams' shoulder pads, a rite of passage for rookies in the NFL, that drew all sorts of criticism.

Bryant and Williams have said they're relationship is fine but his failure to carry the pads led to an expensive dinner.

As punishment, if you will, for not carrying the shoulders pads, Bryant paid the bulk of a nearly $50,000 dinner for him and several of his teammates.

Once the season started, Bryant emerged as a force. He scored on his first career touchdown in a loss vs. Chicago in Week 2, when he returned a punt 62-yards for a score. In Week 5, Bryant earned his first career start, in a three receiver set, and had three catches for 22 yards.

Bryant continued to get better, at least on special teams, when he returned a punt 93-yards for a score in the loss to the New York Giants. It was the second-longest return for a score in franchise history.

On Nov. 7, Bryant compiled career-highs in catches (nine) and yards (86) in a 45-7 loss to Green Bay. The next week, Bryant had 104 receiving yards in the win at the New York Giants.

The season was not without its frustrations. He finished the New Orleans game with no catches and had just one catch in the win vs. the Colts.

In last few weeks of his season, Bryant was seen yelling at receivers coach Ray Sherman expressing his frustration at not getting the ball due to the complex defensive coverages he was seeing.

Several players noted after the Colts game that when Bryant learns to become more polished he will be an unstoppable force in the offense.

When asked was the injury and all he went through difficult to go through, Bryant said, "No, not at all."