Dez Bryant to play Sunday

Updated: December 13, 2012, 5:54 PM ET
By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant said Thursday he plans to play Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers despite a fractured left index finger.

"Only thing y'all need to know is I'm playing," Bryant said as he entered the locker room after practice.

Bryant declined to talk further. In an interesting scene, Bryant, who is left-handed, was seen signing his name to a piece of paper after practice before undergoing treatment.

Bryant caught a few passes in Thursday's practice, though none were from starting quarterback Tony Romo.

Bryant met with a hand specialist Wednesday who confirmed the finger required surgery, a source told ESPN, but the receiver has decided to delay the procedure.

The Cowboys' medical staff will attempt to devise a means of protecting the finger that also enables Bryant to function as a wide receiver. Bryant most likely will wear a taped-up splint and be in constant talks with team trainers regarding his finger during practices to determine his comfort level.

"I talked to him a little bit," Romo said. "A lot of it is about what the doctors are telling you. What is the long-term effects? At the same time, what are the stuff that can happen each week? What if you wait a little bit? What happens if you go out now. ... There's a lot of different scenarios that can play out."

If Bryant reinjures the finger, it could cause permanent stiffness, which would minimize his ability to catch passes.

"He was in and out," tight end Jason Witten said of Bryant. "He's got phenomenal hands, we've seen it for a long time, that he is tough, he'll handle it, I'm sure. It's a process they're getting through. These trainers do a good job working through that, sure they'll handle it the right way."

Bryant has been one of the Cowboys' best performers this season. He's caught 30 passes for 438 yards with six touchdowns in the past four weeks, and he's scored in the past five games.

Bryant ranks 10th in the NFL in receiving yards (1,028) this season and is tied for third with nine touchdowns. 

"Yeah, that's what you love about Dez. He's passionate about football," Romo said. "He loves to play the game. Anybody who's around him for 10 minutes knows that it's an important part of his life that he cares a lot about. I love him as a teammate just because of his passion for the game, among other things. He's a really competitive kid who cares about playing football, and that's what you want in your teammates."

ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder and ESPNDallas.com's Todd Archer contributed to this report.

Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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