Reporting Mike Fisher
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IRVING (105.3 THE FAN) – “Only thing y’all need to know,’’ Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant said on Thursday, “is that I’m gonna play (Sunday). Of course.’’
Thursday was a good step toward that seemingly improbable goal, as Bryant participated in the team’s practice at Valley Ranch. Quarterback Tony Romo said he didn’t throw full-velocity passes to Bryant. But three Cowboys players tell me Bryant did work at practice in preparation for opposing Pittsburgh this Sunday while playing through an injury that on Monday saw doctors telling him and the club that season-ending surgery was needed.
“Dez did Dez things,’’ fellow receiver Kevin Ogletree told 105.3 The Fan.
And Bryant himself mumbled casually, “I took some reps today. I took quite a few.’’
Bryant worked Thursday with his fractured left index finger wrapped in a glove and special padding so large that it had a Mickey Mouse-hand look to it. (He wore a normal black glove on his right hand.) The finger tip of the left-handed glove is cut off to reveal the tip of his finger, suggesting that the break is lower on the digit.
As 105.3 The Fan reported Monday, hand specialists have suggested immediate surgery. But in an exclusive visit with us one day later, Dez was adamant about fighting through the injury.
“It would take more than this (finger injury) to take me out,” Bryant said. “No way. They’d have to break my leg to keep me out.”
The concern of permanent injury remains. The open-endedness of this is why Dallas is devising two gameplans. As of Wednesday afternoon, I’m told the Dallas’ offensive meeting room worked on a full gameplan that didn’t include Dez. And yet coach Jason Garrett told me that coaches are formulating what might be called a “Dez playbook’’ with select plays that might make him less vulnerable to injury. Placing him on the right side of the field so his injured left hand would be more of a “guide hand”? Screen passes with less velocity? Dez-as-decoy?
As Bryant advisor David Wells told me, “You know Dez. He’s not going to give up trying. More than anything in the world, he wants to play.’’
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