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Dez Bryant is expected to return for the Cowboys this week, but Tony Romo is still sidelined

The mercurial wideout should be back against the Eagles, but Romo continues to recover from his back injury.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

This week, the Dallas Cowboys should have another dynamic athlete on the field when All-Pro wide receiver Dez Bryant returns from a knee injury. Bryant missed three games due to a hairline knee fracture and is expected to be ready to play Sunday night in a pivotal NFC East matchup between the Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Bryant suffered the injury in Week 3 and didn’t return to the Dallas practice field in limited capacity until Week 5. His absence was supposed to be a significant loss for a team already without starting quarterback Tony Romo, who broke a bone in his back during the preseason.

Yet Dallas went 3-0 without its Pro Bowl wideout in the lineup and has managed to climb to the top of the NFC with a 5-1 record. While Bryant was sidelined, the Cowboys decided to feed opposing defenses a heavy diet of rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott. Since Week 4, Elliott ran for 429 yards and three touchdowns, and he leads the league in rushing yards with 703.

Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott complemented the Cowboys’ strong rushing attack by spreading the ball around to his receivers. Veterans Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams have stepped up to fill the void Bryant left behind.

Now that Bryant is cleared to play, the big question surrounding the Cowboys is what they will do once Romo is ready to return. Jerry Jones has maintained all season that when Romo returns, he will start. Yet the more Prescott plays lights out for America’s Team, the harder it becomes for the Cowboys to make a switch at quarterback.

Romo was originally scheduled to return against the Eagles this week, but the way Prescott is producing, the Cowboys may just be giving Romo more time to heal (and delaying any possible quarterback decision).

Last season, Romo broke his collarbone in Week 2 against the Eagles and returned to the field in Week 10. A week later, he re-injured his collarbone and was sidelined for the rest of the season. Last season, however, the Cowboys went 1-11 without Romo under center, eventually finishing at 4-12.

This year, the Cowboys may not need Romo’s services. Prescott is flourishing because of a strong rushing attack, veteran receivers, and a talented offensive line.

So far this season, Prescott has thrown for 1,486 yards to go along with seven touchdowns and a 103.9 passer rating. Prescott has just one interception all year, and it didn’t come until after he broke Tom Brady’s record for most attempts without a pick to start an NFL career. He also has three rushing touchdowns, so the rookie can move the chains with his arms and legs.

Coming off the bye week, Prescott will get a major weapon with Bryant’s return. Drafted 24th overall in 2010, the former Oklahoma State standout has been a major part of the Cowboys offense since arriving in the Lone Star State. His breakout 92-catch, 1,382-yard season in 2012 was the first of three straight where he gained more than 1,000 yards receiving.

He had only 11 catches for 150 yards in three games with Prescott behind center before getting hurt.