Dez says he's playing to make playoffs

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, who fractured his left index finger in Sunday's victory against Cincinnati, said Friday that the reason he's going to play instead of having surgery on the finger is because the Cowboys still have a chance to reach the playoffs. Per Tim MacMahon:

"The position that we are in, that makes me want to be out there," said Bryant, who leads the Cowboys with 1,028 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. "If there was anything less than what we got a chance of, I would have went ahead and got surgery."

Bryant plans on being in the starting lineup when the 7-6 Cowboys play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon at Cowboys Stadium, although he is officially listed as questionable. He accepts that he'll likely have limited flexibility in that finger for the rest of his life and will have to fight through excruicating pain for the rest of the season.

With his finger heavily taped, Bryant said he caught passes and used his hands to fight off press coverage during Friday's practice. The official injury reported listed Bryant as a limited participant in practice for the second consecutive day. The finger is still swollen, although Bryant said the swelling has gone down significantly.

So there you go, Cowboys fans. There have been a lot of reasons, over his three-year career, for you to be disappointed in Bryant. But now he's telling you he's willing to go out there at the risk of long-term injury to his hand in an effort to help this year's team reach the playoffs. It might not be Ronnie Lott sacrificing a piece of his finger so he could play, but you have to be happy Bryant wants this as badly as he does.

Overall, I have to say, the Cowboys' toughness as a team has been very impressive this season. That came through Sunday, and it comes through in the fact that they've won four of their past five and stand at 7-6 in spite of all of the injuries and other problems they've had this season. I would imagine this team has to make the playoffs -- and likely do something once there -- in order for it to change people's opinions of it. But if you really look at what's gone on there this season, I think you have to be impressed with what the Cowboys have shown. I think you can make a pretty good case that they've overachieved. And if you're a fan, that's the kind of team I would imagine you'd like.