IRVING, Texas – Dez Bryant knew early last week he was going to do everything in his power to play against the Steelers.
Head coach Jason Garrett said Bryant's willingness to get on the field despite the possible repercussions to his fractured left index finger had an impact on the other players in the locker room.
"Dez was very emotional early in the week about, 'I am playing in this game,'" Garrett said, "and I think when you are a football player and you see a guy be so unequivocal about that and say, 'I'm doing it,' regardless of what the heck this thing is, 'I'm playing, I need to play,' I think it has a real positive impact on your football team."
Despite Bryant's initial plea to play, he had to go through the process of talking to multiple doctors to see if getting on the field would even be possible.
"But right from the start he said, 'I'm playing,'" Garrett said. "I think that is a real tribute to his toughness, first and foremost as a human being, and his passion for playing and passion for this football team."
While Bryant understands putting off surgery could compromise the range of motion in his finger, the doctors didn't stop him from taking the field Sunday.
Bryant only caught four of his nine targets for 59 yards, but one of those was a go-ahead 24-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter, extending his scoring streak to six straight games.
Garrett said as Bryant moves forward every week, the training staff will continue to monitor him, but he doesn't anticipate Bryant getting X-rays frequently unless he's feeling something different in his finger.
The head coach also said Bryant never complained about his finger injury prior to or during the game. Garrett went up to the receiver before the game to ask him if there were any routes he didn't feel comfortable running or certain routes he thought could protect his finger better, and Bryant told Garrett to run the typical game plan and he'd be fine.
Once the game began, Bryant made it clear that he could still pose a threat in the passing game regardless of his injury. The receiver was more than a decoy, and Garrett said he managed to catch those passes with the same coverage he would have seen if he was completely healthy.
"At times they double, at times they played him single," Garrett said. "That's kind of how they play. I don't think they did anything differently because of the finger."