I think you will be good to go if this is the way you want to make the repair.
I am not 100% sure, but 00-02 rear ends are interchangeable so the 98-99s ought to be the same.
One thing is for sure. The long you wait, the worse the damage will be. At least to the oem unit.
There is another rear end thread here for a 2002 Durango. Take a look at the pics, and see what can happen when you drive on bad bearings.