Crunch time: Terrell Owens of the Dallas Cowboys is injured [GALLO/GETTY]

The Dallas Cowboys moved closer to ensuring home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a 20-13 road victory over the Carolina Panthers 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.

"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.

Source: Agencies