Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant is officially listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks.
But the Pro Bowl receiver has had three good days of practices and all signs are pointing toward him playing for the first time since suffering a fractured bone in his foot in the season opener.
A final decision will be made after Bryant and the team’s medical staff evaluate his work and see how he has responded from the week of practice.
A frustrated Bryant said it feels like he hasn’t played in a year and it bothers him that the Cowboys, losers of four straight, have struggled in his absence.
“Don’t know yet. We want to see how I feel with this week of practice,” Bryant said Friday in his first interview with the media since the injury. “It feels good being back there with my teammates. Practice has been great. I’m just trying to be smart about it. My confidence stays high. If the decision was left all up to me, you know I’d be playing.”
If Bryant plays, the Cowboys will ease him into action with a pitch count. They will make sure he doesn’t over do it.
"Any time a player hasn't played in a little while you want to ease him back into the action to a certain extent," coach Jason Garrett said. "You can't ease him into the action on a play, you have to go full speed on every play, but you monitor how he's handling the work. With him or any guy, you're always just mindful of that.
"We have no hard and fast rules about it. We look at the guy. We look at the conditions, see how he's feeling, use our eyes, we communicate and we decide what we think is best.”
Once on the field, Bryant said there will be no holding back on his play.
“If I play, I’m not thinking about nothing; I’m playing,” Bryant said. “Dez is Dez. I have to remove myself from the situation. If I go out there, I’m not going out there to paint. I’m going out there to play football.”
Owner Jerry Jones said that Bryant had a strong practice on Thursday.
"He distinguished himself snagging the ball," Jones said Friday on 105.3 The Fan. "You could just tell that Dez was out there. He just has unique skills. He's got a real determined way about him when he gets on the football field.
“So all of that will be a plus and make no mistake about it, that defense will honor and give extra attention to who we got at the X receiver, which is Dez, if Dez is in there, than they would otherwise."
Bryant’s teammates are excited about the prospects of him playing.
“Fantastic. For him to come back and feel really really good and be able to practice like he has the past couple of days,” Lee said. “The guy is an unbelievable athlete. He’s a passionate guy who we love having at practice.”
Bryant will play in a special pair of shoes made by Nike Brand Jordan with special padded insole shaped like his foot for protection. He made it clear that the fracture is fully healed.
“Oh man. It seems like a year,” Bryant said. “If this is it, I am going to have a lot of fun.”
The Cowboys are last in the division behind the New York Giants (4-3), Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) and Washington Redskins (3-4).
They need to start winning so they will have something to play for when quarterback Tony Romo comes back Nov. 22.
“The losing bothers me, because I’m apart of that,” Bryant said. “I’m going to try my best to get back out on the field and see what happens. We have enough time. We’ve just got to continue to keep on believing.”