Jerry Jones says Jay Ratliff 'doubtful'

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wishes his locker room confrontation with Jay Ratliff had stayed in-house, but he said he "thinks the world of Jay" and is hopeful the injured nose tackle can return to the field soon.

Ratliff has missed seven games this season due to injuries, including the past three games with a groin injury.

"Jay's had injuries that are, just this year, that are just mind-boggling considering the player that he has been for us," Jones said Tuesday during his weekly radio show on KRLD-FM.

According to sources, following the Cowboys' win over the Eagles on Dec. 2, Jones offered encouragement to Ratliff regarding his return to the field. Ratliff, an emotional player who walks around the locker room with a brooding presence, reacted in an angry tone.

Jones and Ratliff needed to be separated. Ratliff then stormed out of the locker room before reporters were let in.

"I've let the emotion of the game, the other day, get to us," Jones said. "But that's just the way things work sometimes and (Ratliff) wants to win and he wants to do everything he can for the team and that's the way I want it."

As for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jones characterized Ratliff's status as doubtful.

"We do need him out there," Jones said. "He's one of our team leaders. And make no mistake about it, he can help us and he's going to be out there, trust me, if he's got a leg to stand on, if he has that type of attitude."

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said the team had no plans to discipline Ratliff.