The mystery as to whether or not Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant will play Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers appears to be no more as Ed Werder of ESPN Dallas is reporting on Thursday that Bryant has informed the team that he intends to delay the operation on his fractured left index finger suffered in the Cowboys win last week over the Cincinnati Bengals after meeting with a hand specialist on Wednesday.
According to the report, Bryant will wear a taped-up splint on the injured finger during practice this week and catch a few passes on Thursday to determine his comfort level, but he is expected to suit up and play as the Cowboys are still fighting for a playoff spot in the NFC.
“One of the things that we know about Dez is that he\’s a tough guy and he loves playing football,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday morning. “He\’s going to give himself and our team every chance possible to play in (Sunday\’s game) and continue to play this season.”
Bryant risk permanent damage to his finger by delaying surgery as it could cause permanent stiffness should he reinjure it again prior to having it performed. The Cowboys second-year receiver is currently second on the team in receptions with 75 behind tight end Jason Witten and has caught 30 passes for 438 yards with six touchdowns over the past four weeks. He\’s also scored in the past five games. Cowboys average 6.0 yards per play when Bryant has been on the field this season versus 3.2 yards per play when he is not.
The Steelers enter the game against the Cowboys with a banged up secondary that the Dallas offense will most certainly try to feast on as cornerback Ike Taylor is out again with a fractured right ankle. His replacement, second-year cornerback Cortez Allen, is also in jeopardy of missing the game with a groin injury suffered in the loss this past Sunday to the San Diego Chargers. Should Allen wind up being sidelined the Steelers will be forced to start either Curtis Brown or Josh Victorian opposite Keenan Lewis with the other one entering the game when the defense uses their nickel sub-package.
Brown was thrown out at 6 times last week in the loss to the Chargers and allowed all 6 passes to be completed which included a 39 yard touchdown pass from Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers to wide receiver Danario Alexander on a hitch-and-go route that Brown got caught trying to jump. Victorian was also victimized by Alexander for a touchdown as well in the game during his limited playing time after replacing the ineffective Brown.