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Dez Bryant diagnosed with hairline fracture in knee

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The Dallas Cowboys once again find themselves in a prickly position when it comes to their superstar wide receiver Dez Bryant and a lower body injury.

According to coach Jason Garrett, an MRI revealed Bryant has a slight hairline fracture in his injured right knee. Bryant went down awkwardly in the first quarter Sunday night against the Chicago Bears, but came back to finish the game. He caught his first touchdown pass of the season on a footwork-heavy double-move that seemed to show his knee was in perfect condition.

"He did not practice today, and we're hopeful that he'll be able to play," Garrett said on a conference call Wednesday. "We're taking the situation day-by-day. Hopefully, he can do something tomorrow.

"He has a slight hairline fracture in one of the bones in his knees. We don't think it's something that's going to keep him out for an extended period of time, but it's going to be a day-by-day, week-by-week situation."

Bryant will be fined for missing team meetings and a scheduled MRI exam on Tuesday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source informed of the plans.

Bryant could play this week against the 49ers, but he could also miss three weeks, pending on how he responds to treatment, Rapoport added. The receiver was on crutches Wednesday. The Cowboys are hoping there is minimal risk for Bryant to play Sunday, Rapoport added Thursday morning, also saying it seems to be a long shot he plays Sunday.

The Cowboys have toed the line when it comes to Bryant's health before. Almost exactly a year ago, Bryant suffered a broken bone in his foot. He returned just six weeks later but clearly struggled to replicate his success from a starlit 2014 campaign. The team shut him down after a Week 14 loss to the New York Jets.

Now, the team will have to figure out whether it is worth it to risk Bryant's health against the lowly 49ers this weekend. Presumably, a platoon of Jason Witten, Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams is enough to thwart arguably one of the worst defenses in football, especially given how effective rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott has been on the ground. The team has some bigger fish to fry, including games with the Packers, Bengals and division-leading Eagles coming down the pike. Might it be the perfect week to simply allow Bryant to ice up?

So far this year, Bryant has 11 catches for 150 yards and one touchdown.

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