Dez Bryant won't play vs. Dolphins

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys rookie wide receiver Dez Bryant wants to play in Thursday's preseason finale against the Miami Dolphins at Cowboys Stadium, but understands why he can't.

Bryant, who has missed the entire preseason with a high right ankle sprain, has been cleared to practice, but the team will hold him out of the Dolphins game as a precaution.

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Bryant would play only if the starters were going to see some time, and starting quarterback Tony Romo was told he's getting the night off.

"I looked at the big picture ... that's how I was able to keep calm," Bryant said at the Cowboys' annual kickoff luncheon Wednesday. "I understand it 100 percent. Why Britt [Brown] was acting this way toward me. But it worked out."

Brown, the Cowboys' associate athletic trainer, shut down a route-running session in Oxnard, Calif., two days before a preseason game at Houston. Brown didn't want anything to happen to Bryant before the regular season started.

On Tuesday, Bryant said he felt good after a full practice in which he ran at full speed and made cuts on his right ankle.

"I thought he did some good things," wide receivers coach Ray Sherman said. "He went through special teams. He went through drills with me. Then he came out and ran some plays with the offense. I thought he looked very good. He's ready to go."

It was Bryant's first practice since July 30, when he sprained an ankle trying to catch a pass thrown behind him in San Antonio. Bryant wore a walking boot for 10 days and, after it was removed, did some light jogging before he was able to fully run when the team moved training camp to Oxnard.

On Monday, Bryant had announced via Twitter that he would play Thursday against the Dolphins. But after the coaches spoke about who was playing, it's quite obvious he won't.

"I thought he caught the ball well," Jones said. "I really thought he took up right where he left off, frankly, and that's with the exception of the injury. He didn't look like he was influenced at all by his high ankle sprain. He's got some conditioning [to work on]. But he fought through."

Calvin Watkins covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.