Since we’re in the business today of updating really important news that’s compelling and rich, and has wide-sweeping fantasy implications, let’s also return to the tale of Dez Bryant and his throbbing finger.

You’ll recall when your pleasant Monday afternoon was interrupted by the strong possibility that Bryant could be done for the season after injuring his left index finger during the Cowboys’ win over Cincinnati Sunday. This is troubling for so many reasons, but most notably because with his 149 fantasy points, Bryant is the sixth best scorer at his position, and he’s logged 20 or more points in three of his last five games. He’s also had seven touchdowns during that stretch, and two games with 145 receiving yards.

Yeah, the figurative temperature of his hands is somewhere far above lukewarm right now. Or maybe they’re actually hot in a literal sense, in which case he should probably get that checked out.

But Bryant has far more concerning medical problems, and this morning Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that ultimately, the team won’t decide the next direction with his finger injury. Nope, that’s Bryant’s call.

The options on the table for Bryant are to either have surgery now and end his season early (if that happens, it’ll be the second time in just three years that Bryant has landed on the IR, missing a significant chunk of a season), or he can apply several layers of tape that binds his fingers together, and play through the injury. Here’s what Jones said (via Around The League):

“Dez will be the ultimate decision-maker as to whether or not he wants to continue to try to play with a lot of protection or whether he should have surgery,” Jones said during his weekly radio show on KRLD 105.3 FM, the Star-Ledger reported. “The reason for the surgery is because you could have life-lasting stiffness there.

Translation: we won’t be pricks and force our star player to do anything stupid that could mess his body up for the rest of his life, long after he’s done getting paid to play football. See, we’re the good guys.

But when Jones talks of Bryant making a decision, that decision will really just be a formality that’s determined by the severity of the injury. Byrant won’t make any decision at all. Nature controls his fate not, and nature can be cold and cruel, and I’m only talking about the bears. I hate bears. They’re Satan’s children.

You see, the thing about catching a football is that you need to be able to flex your hand. Again, we don’t know the severity of the injury, although by now Bryant and the Cowboys surely have a much better idea after he saw a hand specialist yesterday. Jene Bramel, the injury expert for the Football Guys, described the two extremes facing Bryant that will hinge on how badly his tendon is torn.

The decision to have surgery or not will depend on the severity (complete or incomplete) and location (flexor or extensor) of the tendon tear. A completely torn tendon would prevent Bryant from either flexing (finger cannot be bent) or extending (finger cannot be straightened) a portion of the injured finger. If there’s any concern that the tendon cannot be repaired at a later date or that Bryant could be left with a permanent deformity or loss of function that would limit his ability to catch passes, surgery will likely be recommended. Repair of the tendon is followed by strict splinting of the finger to allow full healing, a process that usually continues for 4-6 weeks. Additional intermittent splinting and therapy can extend the recovery period to 10+ weeks. If it’s determined that Bryant can play through the injury (pain, swelling, loss of range of motion) without long term disability, Bryant could return as soon as this week.

“Permanent deformity.”

“Loss of function.”

It kinda seems like this goes a little beyond a football game, and a football season. But then there’s that last line, which fuels your optimism again.

You need insurance, and you need it now. So if you haven’t put in your waiver claim for Dwayne Harris yet, what the hell are you waiting for? Harris was featured in 36 offensive snaps Sunday, while Kevin Orgletree was used in only 13. Harris is the clear Bryant replacement.

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