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December 16, 2012

Dez Bryant comes to play, fractured finger and all

Dez Bryant caught a touchdown pass in his sixth consecutive game, and he did it with a fractured left index finger.

“I was proud of him tonight, not only fighting through the injury -- that’s not easy to do to play with a broken finger at receiver -- but being able to play without practicing [as a full participant] in the week,” Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said. “He really stepped up, and he’s a big-time player, and I think he showed it tonight. He’s in the fraternity of tough guys. That’s not easy to do what he did.”

Bryant needs surgery on his finger, which was injured in the fourth quarter of last week’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones revealed Sunday that Bryant will need a bone graft.

“Dez is going to have, more than likely, bone taken off his hip and put into that index finger joint,” Jones said. “It is a fracture, but it’s not a ligament [injury]. Make no mistake, he has a serious injury. He certainly is playing with some risks, but he was inspirational out there to everybody involved in this organization.”

Jones’ revelation was news even to Bryant, who was adamant in repeatedly saying “nobody is touching my hip.”

"Well, if he wasn’t kidding, I’m also not playing neither," Bryant said. "Nobody touching my hip. I’m telling you right now. You can get a piece of bone from somebody else. You’re not touching my hip."

Bryant caught four passes for 59 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown. In the past six games, a 5-1 stretch for the Cowboys, Bryant has 37 catches for 584 yards and eight touchdowns.

“He’s starting to play really, really good, sound football and doing the things it takes to win football games,” said Tony Romo, who became the first quarterback to throw for 300 yards against the Steelers. “His development has been great to see. I know you go by catches and yards and touchdowns, but I go by how many times he does the right thing, makes the right choice, runs the right route, the depth he’s at, the timing that he came out, his ability to read the coverage. There is a lot of stuff involved and he didn’t do as well early in the year, but he’s really come on as of late. That’s exciting for us to see.”

-- Charean Williams



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