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Thursday, December 13, 2012
Bryant says he's in, but Ratliff is out

By Dan Graziano

Mixed bag today for the Cowboys on injury news. Wide receiver Dez Bryant, who has a broken left index finger, taped the thing up and practiced and told everybody when it was over, "Only thing y'all need to know is I'm playing." So that's ... good, I guess, unless the broken finger is going to make it harder for him to hold onto the ball. Which is obviously possible.

The news on nose tackle Jay Ratliff, however, is not good. Ratliff, who has missed the past three games with a groin injury, had sports hernia surgery on Thursday and appears likely to miss at least the rest of the regular season. The Cowboys have not yet decided whether to put Ratliff on injured reserve. His injury leaves them incredibly thin at the position, especially with backup Josh Brent unavailable while facing intoxication manslaughter charges for the accident that killed teammate Jerry Brown last weekend.

The Cowboys are shredded on defense. If Ratliff goes on injured reserve, he'll be the fifth Cowboys defensive starter to do so this year, joining safety Barry Church, inside linebackers Sean Lee and Bruce Carter and defensive end Kenyon Coleman. Also on IR is nickel cornerback Orlando Scandrick. So the Bryant news is theoretically good for a team that needs its offense to be in peak form. Bryant has 525 receiving yards and seven touchdown catches in his past five games, and the Cowboys are 4-1 over that time. The key is whether he can fight through the pain to continue to make the kinds of athletic, physical, at-times-acrobatic plays that have keyed his second-half surge.