Dez Bryant is congratulated by Cowboys teammate Miles Austin after making… (Tom Uhlman / Associated…)
Dez Bryant caught a key fourth-quarter touchdown pass for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday while playing with what turned out to be a fractured index finger on his left hand.
Whether Bryant continues to play with the injury or has season-ending surgery will be left up to the third-year receiver, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday on his weekly local radio show.
“It has not been decided by Dez, who will be the ultimate decision maker, whether or not he wants to try to continue to play with a lot of protection or whether or not he should have surgery,” Jones said on 105.3-FM The Fan.
Bryant was certainly able to play through the pain Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. He missed just five plays after injuring his finger on a tackle by Adam Jones. And, just two plays after re-entering the game, he caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Tony Romo to pull the Cowboys to within 19-17 midway through the fourth quarter.
Dallas ended up beating the Bengals, 20-19, on a 40-yard Dan Bailey field goal as time expired to improve to 7-6 and stay in the thick of the NFC playoff hunt.
“I think adrenaline sometimes allows players to continue to play after they've had an injury,” Coach Jason Garrett said Monday. “[Bryant] certainly made a big play in the ballgame, and I think that's a real tribute to his toughness and his love for the game.”
The Cowboys would certainly like to have Bryant and his 75 catches for 1,028 yards and nine touchdowns for the stretch run, but this isn't simply a matter of pain endurance.
“The reason for the surgery now is because without it you could have life-lasting stiffness that people that know hand surgery know that if you get in there and fix it that you have a chance of avoiding," Jones said. "But make no mistake about it, Dez is chomping at the bit and wants to take the route of playing.”
He added: “Certainly, we’re very mindful of everything involved here and are making sure that everyone, mostly Dez, has all the right information so that he and we can make a decision.”
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