After reports originally surfaced that Dez Bryant may miss the rest of the season for the Dallas Cowboys, the wide receiver now intends to play on Sunday as his team fights to remain in the playoff hunt against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
With a broken index finger, Bryant said that he intends to play through the pain. The Cowboys will place a splint on the finger and see how Bryant does in catching passes. The success of this alone will not guarantee that Bryant will be allowed to continue to play, but it is a start.
Ultimately, the Cowboys will require that medical gives Bryant clearance to keep playing during the team’s final three games of the regular season. It will also depend on how much further damage he could do to the finger by playing, opting to forego surgery until after the season. If it is not bad, they could roll the dice and hope for the best.
But if playing could worsen the injury to the point to where Bryant may never be the same again, then Dallas will still most likely overrule its top receiver’s request to keep playing, having no other decision but to shut him down for the rest of the season and schedule surgery.
Either way, the injury is going to require surgery. It is just a matter of time. If the hard splint can offer enough protection to get Bryant through the final few games – and possibly into the postseason – without doing further damage that may not be able to be fixed the same, while still allowing him to play at an elite level, expect Dallas to step in and go ahead and end Bryant’s season sooner rather than later.
The Cowboys must protect their investment in this case, regardless of whether or not a postseason berth is at stake. Bryant in the lineup certainly makes the Cowboys a much more dangerous team on offense, although it does still not guarantee that they will reach the playoffs this season.
But if he plays and does more damage to the finger that could be nearly permanent, it could guarantee that they struggle after this season and beyond.
After this Sunday’s game against the Steelers, the Cowboys finish the 2012 season against the New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins.