UPDATE (4:03 p.m. ET): Alright, so apparently Garrett is a rather skilled poker player, and he bluffed the Dallas reporters huge time. Bryant practiced today while wearing a special white glove over his finger, and he caught passes from quarterback Tony Romo. He then confidently told the media that he’s playing. So yeah, you can pretty much ignore every word written below. As you were.
When we last visited the hourly developments of the most popular index finger in North America and possibly the world, we were told that Dez Bryant is most likely playing Sunday against the Steelers, and he’ll catch passes today in practice. Welp, part of that optimistic equation has changed.
Earlier Ed Werder’s sources told him that Bryant would “catch a few passes” in practice today to see how he feels. Now after speaking with the media and confirming the more significant aspect of Werder’s report — that Bryant will delay surgery on his finger and attempt to play throughout the rest of the season — Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said that even an extremely limited test won’t take place today.
Even worse, there’s a possibility Bryant may not attempt to catch a ball until Sunday. Ummm, yikes.
From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
Bryant has not caught passes this week and will not on Thursday because there is still too much swelling. But Garrett said he will try to do so at some point, even waiting up till game day.
“We are going to give him every chance to play,” Garrett said. “If that is wait till Satuday (to catch passes), then we will wait till Saturday. If it’s wait till Sunday, it’s wait till Sunday. We will give him every chance to do it.”
Garrett also said the team is reasonably confident in Bryant’s ability to still be effective because his 27-yard touchdown catch against the Bengals came after he suffered the injury.
Sure, fair enough, and it’s nice to hear that he’s a tough guy and all. But I’m slowly beginning to back away from what I wrote this morning. Specifically, the part where I said Bryant is a must start if he’s playing, and I’ll sprint away from that statement if we get through Saturday without hearing about at least one football successfully landing in his hands.
Although optimism from the Cowboys still seems high regarding Bryant’s playing status this week, clearly you need to monitor this closely right up until kickoff Sunday. The time of that kickoff (4:25 ET) could make things much more challenging, with many of your potential replacement options already taking the field either tonight, or in one of Sunday’s eight early games.
So I’ll write this for about the 18th time since Sunday: pick up Dwayne Harris, and do it now, dammit. Harris will replace Bryant if he can’t play, and he’ll provide you with much needed insurance. Handcuffing Harris allows you to take a risk with Bryant, as it’s easy to slide him in if your stud wideout is declared inactive late Sunday afternoon.