Dez Bryant was limited in practice on Wednesday. After running routes but not catching any passes, he told reporters that he cut his finger while chopping carrots, but that the injury was “extremely minor.” The 5-1 Cowboys are on a bye this week, so, whether he’s under-exaggerating his wound or not, he’s got a little extra time to heal.
Bryant has been out since suffering a knee injury in Week 3 against the Bears. Through the three weeks he played this season, he averaged 50 receiving yards per game and scored a total of one touchdown. He caught less than half — 11 of 23 — of his targets. On balls not thrown to Bryant, Dak Prescott has completed 114 of 159 passes, or 71.6%. The Cowboys have not lost in Dez’s absence. Cole Beasley and Terrence Williams may not be household names, but they’ve more than held their own.
Of course, Dez Bryant is a preternatural talent, who when at his best makes miraculous plays that not many on this planet are physically capable of, and can terrorize opposing defenses. But, he also comes with a lot of baggage. The off-field distractions may have been overblown as the only charges ever brought against him were dismissed, but he is always liable to erupt on the sidelines. It’s not a stretch to believe his quarterbacks would throw him the ball on plays where it may not be most optimal for the offense, in a conscious or subconscious effort to make him feel included and prevent a tantrum.
The cut finger would not in and of itself necessarily be a warning sign, but it’s just always something with him. With the Cowboys seemingly poised to move on from Tony Romo, it’s natural to also wonder whether this team needs Dez Bryant in its future. Three weeks is not forever, but in that time he has not been missed.