IRVING, Texas – Dez Bryant did more than anticipated on the field Thursday and informally stated he'll be ready to go Sunday, after head coach Jason Garrett indicated at his press conference earlier in the day that the receiver wouldn't be catching passes in practice.
Garrett, defensive back Brandon Carr and wide receiver Kevin Ogletree confirmed to reporters after practice that Bryant was at least involved in some capacity.
"The only thing y'all need to know is I'm gonna play," Bryant announced before leaving the locker room.
Bryant's presence on the field would at least indicate he doesn't plan to undergo immediate surgery, which would likely end his season. He's seen two hand specialists this week and still must weigh the long-term effects of playing through the injury, but it appears he's willing to take a risk and fight through the pain.
It remains to be seen what Bryant will wear on his finger if he takes the field Sunday. He jogged out to practice Thursday with his left hand in a white glove that had a hole for his fractured left index finger to stick out.
He didn't have time to catch a pass during the media portion of practice, but he seemed prepared to start doing so at any moment.
Garrett and Carr both said after practice that Bryant caught at least a few passes. While the extent of his reps and practice time isn't clear, the fact that he was out there at all is an encouraging sign. Carr said he didn't go against Bryant in practice, and he didn't want to go into detail, but he bashfully stated the receiver "caught it pretty good."
After the morning press conference, Garrett said he thought Bryant's fractured left index finger still had too much swelling to risk catching passes.
"We're going to have to do that at some point," Garrett said about Bryant catching passes. "But I don't think that day is today."
Plans must have changed throughout the day, which is a good sign for the Cowboys' aerial attack against the Steelers. Bryant's taken his play to another level in recent weeks, hauling in seven touchdown catches in the last five games, with at least one touchdown in each of those games.
All of those scores came in the second half of games, and the Cowboys have gone 4-1 in that span. This past week, he went over 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his career, and has a team-high 1,028 yards with nine touchdowns.