The big-play wide receiver has missed nearly three weeks of practice with plantar fasciitis, leaving the Cowboys without another third of their offensive triplets in training camp. Like the other two, Cooper and his representation is also in the midst of negotiating a new deal in Dallas.
Cooper, who reiterated this week he's not concerned about a contract extension, isn't expected to return until at least next week but insisted he will be himself once he does. In fact, he said he would play tomorrow if the Cowboys had a regular-season game -- and that he'd be effective.
"Real effective," Cooper said, per Jori Epstein of USA TODAY. "I'm not really worried. ... It's not really that bad, especially just walking around. But to do the things that I do on the field, obviously I'm cutting really hard, I'm stopping really hard."
The Pro Bowl wideout reminded that he has played through this very injury in the past, including during his rookie season with the Raiders and his sophomore year at Alabama. He caught 72 receptions for 1,070 yards and six touchdowns while playing in every game during the former. In 2013, he played 11 games for the Crimson Tide and hauled in 45 passes for 736 yards and four touchdowns.
"I played with a lot of foot injuries," Cooper said. "I played with high ankle sprains. All those things so I'm pretty good at playing with foot injuries. But I don't think I'm going to have to play with it."
That's why Cooper isn't concerned but also why he isn't rushing back from the heel injury. The hope is the less he does now, the more he'll be able to do later. For what it's worth, Cooper has remained engaged in his team's activities this August. It's the most he can do given the modifications being made to the offense under new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Cooper said things will be "dressed up differently" but it's all familiar to the fifth-year veteran.
"Of course I feel like I'm missing things because I'm missing practice," Cooper said. "But, like I said, I'm able to keep up mentally. ... The plays are, for the most part, the same or similar. ... It's a lot of the same routes from my perspective."
If it produces the same results, this time off will all be forgotten.