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IRVING (105.3 THE FAN) – Dallas Cowboys officials are “all-but set’’ to concede that top receiver Dez Bryant’s season may be over due to a left index finger injury sustained Sunday in the team’s emotional 20-19 victory at Cincinnati, team sources tell Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan.
A source close to Bryant adds that the injury – which could involve a fracture and ligament damage – caused Cowboys doctors to suggest that Bryant requires surgery.
Coach Jason Garrett confirmed that Bryant spent Monday afternoon with a hand specialist in hopes of finding unlikely alternatives to the end of a season for Bryant, who has seven touchdown catches in the last five games as the 7-6 team has surged to four wins in five weeks to remain in playoff contention.
“He’s still getting checked on right now, and we’ll see what his status is as we go forward,” Garrett said in his late-afternoon press conference at Valley Ranch. “There’s been no definitive diagnosis as to what he has and what his availability will be. We’re just trying to figure out what it is.”
As of a day earlier, the injury did not seem to be serious.
“I sprained it,’’ said a smiling Bryant on Sunday afternoon while wearing a large white splint on the finger. “Taped it up, wrapped it up a little bit and just got back out there.’’
Bryant injured the finger with 9:47 left in the fourth quarter, missed five plays, and then returned later in the drive to catch a critical 27-yard touchdown pass in what would be a comeback Cowboys victory.
Bryant, growing into a Pro Bowl candidate in his third NFL season, finished with four catches for 50 yards in a game framed by the tragic circumstances in the intoxicated/manslaughter case of defensive lineman Josh Brent, arrested after being involved in a one-car accident that killed Cowboys practice-squad linebacker Jerry Brown.
Bryant leads the team with 1,028 receiving yards and and nine touchdowns and his known for his driving passion for the game. That’s a theoretical factor here; one can see Bryant seeking second opinions until he hears the answer he desires.
But, said Garrett, “It’s a medical decision first and foremost. The doctors are going to say, ‘Hey, this is what it is, and this is what we feel like you need to do,’ and then we’re going to say, ‘OK, well what are the other options,’ like you do with any injury, and you go forward and you make your best decision, not only for now, but for the future. Dez is very passionate about playing. … He loves to play. … At the same time, there’s a medical decision as well that we have to factor into this thing, and we’ll do the right thing.”
A full one-third of the Cowboys’ starting lineup has been lost to injury this year – and that’s not counting Brent, whose status is in limbo.
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