By Mike Fisher

FRISCO (105.3 The Fan) – About 24 hours after openly discussing the issues that Dez Bryant believes has plagued his Dallas Cowboys – including his own knee ailment – the star receiver was not available to the team at Thursday’s practice.

And about 48 hours after I reported that Orlando Scandrick had forged an agreement with coach Jason Garrett to not return to the field until his fractured back “was right,’’ Scandrick is headed to IR.

These are the byproducts of being a non-contender. So even as Garrett has vowed to treat Sunday’s finale at Philly as if it has meaning — and even though Bryant told me he intends on playing, as other standouts like Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott insist they wish to do — a non-playoff team can only pretend to be proceeding as if it is anything different.

“I’ve been dealing with my tendonitis,” Bryant said on Wednesday. “I have, I’ve been dealing with injuries.”

After the practice report was released Thursday afternoon, we know Dez’ absence is related to his bothersome knee. In the case of Scandrick, he made it clear to me that “in a perfect world’’ he’d wait to return to the field until he’s healthy.

Instead, with ESPN first to note the official nature of the roster move, he posted on social media a photo of him carrying a suitcase with the caption, “Nothin Last Forever.’’

Because this is not a perfect world, not at 8-7 and out of the running.

I’ve suggested to Cowboys officials that they might make the same IR move with guys like Tyron Smith and David Irving, who have no reason to suit up Sunday. Better to use their roster spots as tryout opportunities for prospects, I say.

“I want us to end the season with a bang, on a good note,” Dez told me on Wednesday.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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