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Injury news: Dez Bryant rehabs 'slow and deliberate'

Dez Bryant's back tightened up late in the Dallas Cowboys' Sunday loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. It slowed down an otherwise electric afternoon, and kept the wide receiver out of practice Wednesday.

Bryant was back in uniform Thursday, but not practicing fully. Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that Dez was running slow while catching passes from the team's strength coach. Hill called Bryant's work Thursday "slow and deliberate," saying Bryant's back looked "stiff."

Considering that Bryant finished last week's game, we'd be very surprised if he's out Sunday against the St. Louis Rams. But he's worth watching to see how healthy he truly is. Bryant is an extremely tough player, but he's often battling through injuries. It would be nice to see him fully healthy for a stretch of games.

With Tony Romo also banged up, the Cowboys' offense needs all the help it can get. Here are other injuries we're tracking Thursday:

1. Reggie Bush (knee) sat out practice Thursday for the Detroit Lions again, but the running back said in a radio interview he was "optimistic" he will play this week against the Washington Redskins. We'll see.


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2. Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy (concussion) missed practice again Thursday, according to ESPN. He's a long shot to play this week against the Cincinnati Bengals, and James Starks will start regardless. Packers tight end Jermichael Finley (toe) returned to practice.

3. The Denver Broncos got great news Thursday. Cornerback Champ Bailey (foot) returned to practice for the first time all season. He worked in full pads.

4. Chicago wide receiver Brandon Marshall (back) left practice Thursday, and was officially listed as limited on the injury report. The Bears play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night.

5. Free safety Ed Reed (hip) will be a game-time decision, Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak said Thursday. Kubiak said of Reed: "He's heading in the right direction. He's really practicing well." 

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reported on NFL Network's "Around the League Live" that Reed was unlikely to play this week. Reed didn't sound like a guy ready to face his former team the Baltimore Ravens when he spoke earlier this week on "The Rich Eisen Podcast." 

6. Speaking of the Ravens, running back Ray Rice (hip) didn't practice Thursday.

7. Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle Russell Okung (toe) will visit noted foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson this week in North Carolina to have his ailing toe examined, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday. That doesn't sound promising.

8. San Diego Chargers first round pick D.J. Fluker (concussion) was hurt at practice Wednesday and was not on the field for Thursday's practice, according to the Union-Tribune San Diego. Linebacker Manti Te'o (toe) was limited in practice. 

9. Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew (toe) missed practice again Thursday. Rapoport reported earlier this week that the plan was for MJD to start Sunday in Seattle

10. Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell was upgraded to a full practice Thursday. Could he make a quicker return than expected? 

11. New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (toe) remained out of practice. Less Ingram might be a good thing for the Saints' offense.

12. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) and running back Rashard Mendenhall (toe) both missed practice again. Fitzgerald is expected to play this weekend against the Saints.

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