Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant met with a hand specialist Monday afternoon to determine whether he needs season-ending surgery on his index finger.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said no decision has been made as yet on what could be another crushing blow to his team.
"He's still getting checked on right now, and we'll see what his status is as we go forward," Garrett said. "There's been no definitive diagnosis as to what he has and what his availability will be. We're just trying to figure out what it is."
Bryant suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 20-19 victory against the Bengals. He caught a slant route and was tackled by cornerback Adam Jones. Bryant went to the sideline after the play to get it checked out. He missed five plays before returning to the game and eventually catching a 27-yard touchdown pass to help spark the comeback victory
After the game, Bryant said called the injury a sprain.
But further tests on Monday revealed the injury may be more serious. The Cowboys are trying to determine if he can play with the injury the rest of the way without risking further damage, delaying surgery until after the season.
There is no question that Bryant would continue to play if at all possible. Garrett said the decision will be made the doctors.
“Well, it’s a medical decision first and foremost,” Garrett said. “The doctors are going to say, ‘Hey, this is what it is, and this is what we feel like you need to do,’ and then we’re going to say, ‘OK, well what are the other options,’ like you do with any injury, and you go forward and you make your best decision, not only for now, but for the future. Dez is very passionate about playing. Anyone who’s been around him knows that. He actually hurt his finger prior to catching that touchdown pass that was such a difference-making play in the game. He’s just one of those guys. He loves to play. He’s very emotional about the game, very passionate about the game, so we’re going to do everything we can to give him a chance to play. At the same time, there’s a medical decision as well that we have to factor into this thing, and we’ll do the right thing.”
If he needs surgery now, then Bryant will be sidelined for the final three games, ending his season on injured reserve for the second time in his career.
The loss of Bryant would be a huge blow for the Cowboys. They are still reeling from the tragic death of practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown in a car accident last weekend as a result of nose tackle Josh Brent allegedly driving under the influence. It would also be a huge blow to the team’s playoff chances The Cowboys (7-6) have won four of the last five games and need to sweep the final three to legitimize their playoffs.
They will be hard pressed to do without Bryant who is in the midst of a breakout season with 75 catches for 1,028 yards and nine touchdowns. He has had a touchdown in each of the last five games.
If Bryant needs surgery, he would be seventh starter to go in injured reserve, including safety Barry Church, linebacker Sean Lee, linebacker Bruce Carter, cornerback Orlando Scandrick, defensive end Kenyon Coleman and punter Chris Jones.