IRVING, Texas — Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant participated on a limited basis in practice on Thursday while continuing to vow to play Sunday night in New Orleans. But sources close to the Cowboys standout tell FOX Sports Southwest that there are concerns he is suffering from a bulging or herniated disc in his back and that measures being taken to treat the ailment go far beyond “precautionary.”
“C’mon, you know I’m going to play,” Bryant said in the locker room while declining to address the specifics of his condition.
Bryant missed the Wednesday practice and FOX Sports Southwest is told he instead consulted with doctors regarding the problem. On Thursday he was initially scheduled to sit out the workout. But instead, he moved gingerly through the “pat-and-go” (jog-through) start of the session. And when the rest of the offense readied for full-speed work, Bryant removed his helmet, walked to the sideline and reclined on the ground under the supervision of a trainer.
“It’s bothering him a little bit off and on,” head coach Jason Garrett said. “We don’t think it’s a significant deal.”
Bryant, 25, and having a Pro Bowl-caliber season, has fought through back issues before. A year ago after a Week 16 loss at Washington, he required the use of a wheelchair to exit the locker room. This season, he’s missed a handful of snaps amid reports of “tightness” and “back spasms.” He’s certain to want to fight through this as well. But this is not just “tightness” or “back spasms.”
There are concerns that this is indeed “a significant deal.”
The terms “herniated” and “bulging” are often used interchangeably. They are different, but the problems and treatments are similar: Traction, electrical stim, heat and rest.
Right now, “rest” doesn’t seem to be Bryant’s top priority.