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Dez Bryant's status looming over Giants' defense

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant gestures to

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant gestures to fans during the second half of an NFL preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. Credit: AP / Tony Avelar

Steve Spagnuolo recalled a game in 2006 when he was an Eagles assistant and his team was facing the Colts. Edgerrin James had left the team as a free agent that offseason and Spags and his fellow coaches spent all week celebrating their avoidance of the dominant running back.

Then Joseph Addai came out and ran for 171 yards and four touchdowns against them in that game to beat the Eagles, 45-21. The lesson?

"You never say you are hoping one way or the other," Spags said.

That's the case this week, too, as the possibility of Dez Bryant returning to the field for Sunday's game looms over the Giants' defensive gameplan. Bryant, who broke his foot in the opener against the Giants, has been targeting this game for his return but has yet to practice. So while it seems unlikely he will be active, the Giants aren't counting him out. Or even hoping him out.

"We're planning both ways," Spagnuolo said. "He's a good football player and we know he's a challenge, so if he does play we'll do certain things. If he doesn't, we'll shift gears a little bit."

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