By TPR Staff

With a thrilling road victory on Sunday that snapped the Cincinnati Bengals four game winning streak, the Dallas Cowboys had to be feeling pretty good about themselves. At just one game above .500, they found themselves only one game behind the New York Giants for control of the NFC East and a safe playoff spot.

Things were definitely looking up for the Cowboys who have seemed to be unable to win the close games all year. They were now on track and ready to make that final push for the postseason. But then the news broke about wide receiver Dez Bryant, who has been a breakout star in 2012. Turns out he injured his hand during the win and it was serious enough that it would require season-ending surgery.

First, it was said that Bryant would be seeking a second opinion on the injury. I’ve always bee of the belief that a second opinion is always good, but the truth is that you’re only doing it because you didn’t like the opinion of the first doctor.

But now the news is leaking out that Bryant has said that he wants to play through the injury and have the surgery after the Cowboys season comes to a close. A decision that Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones is being reported to have saying will be a decision that Bryant makes on his own. Which I find amusing after the reports of Jones and nose tackle Jay Ratliff apparently nearly coming to blows in the Cowboys locker room after Jones “encouraged” Ratliff to get back out on the field already after missing several games due to injury.

Maybe it’s just me, and I’m no fan of Jerry Jones, but when the team owner comes and tells you to do anything after giving you $40 million to play for his football team, even if you don’t like what he says, you don’t act a fool like that. But I digress; back to Bryant.

The risk of playing through this injury is the threat of life-lasting stiffness that could be avoided if he just has the operation. He’s young, hungry and playing the best football of his career, so for him to have a desire to play through it understandable. But some think that he should just opt for the procedure and not risk his career outside of his rookie contract makes all the sense in the world.

If he does decide to go with the surgery, the blow to the Cowboys playoff hopes would be devastating. After a slow start, Bryant has had a pro bowl caliber season and leads the team in yards receiving and touchdowns. He’s on pace for an estimated 1,300 yards and double digits in touchdown receptions. You take him out of the Cowboys offense and you get Tony Romo trying to be a hero by forcing passes into double coverage on Miles Austin too much.

In my opinion, the Redskins and the Giants are a better club that the Cowboys this year and even if they get in to the postseason, they’re not likely to make very much noise against the big boys of the conference this season. Dez has a bright future in Dallas (given he stays out of trouble off the field) and there is no need to risk anything permanent by playing in what could end up being three meaningless games. I respect him for his toughness, but he needs to think with his head and not his heart on this one. His teammates will understand.

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