From: Reuters
Published December 23, 2007 12:32 AM

Owens injured as Cowboys beat Panthers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Dallas Cowboys moved closer to ensuring home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a 20-13 road victory over the Carolina Panthers on Saturday but lost wide receiver Terrell Owens with an ankle sprain.

Owens caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Tony Romo in the first quarter but was injured in the second and did not return. The Cowboys took a 14-0 lead the play after Owens left the game but were held without another touchdown the rest of the way.

X-rays on Owens were negative but he was scheduled for an MRI on Sunday. He was reported to have sustained a high ankle sprain.

Owens, who left the stadium on crutches and wearing a walking boot, is expected to miss at least next week's regular season finale. The Cowboys have a first-round bye in the playoffs.

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"The X-rays don't look bad," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told reporters. "We know he's a quick healer and he's in great spirits."

With Owens out, Dallas relied more on the running game.

Marion Barber ran for 110 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.

Romo showed no effects of the sprained right thumb that hampered him in a loss to Philadelphia last week and threw for 257 yards in the victory.

The Panthers (6-9) closed to within a touchdown through John Kasey's field goal with just over three minutes remaining but the Cowboys were able to run down the clock.

Dallas improved record to 13-2 and will clinch home field advantage if Green Bay loses to Chicago on Sunday.

(Writing by Mike Shalin; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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