By now, most Dallas Cowboys fans have heard the bad news about DeMarco Murray. He broke the fourth metacarpal in his left hand and will need surgery to fix it. The Cowboys are also worried about the ankles of Doug Free and Zack Martin. On that front, there is a hint of good news. Coach Jason Garrett says neither have the dreaded high ankle sprain.
The Dallas Cowboys are not completely sure about the statuses of Doug Free and Zack Martin for Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts, but coach Jason Garrett said they did not suffer high ankle sprains. Garrett admitted some concern about Free’s availability for Sunday because he was unable to finish the Eagles game.
"We’ll see what the MRI says and make our next best decision," Garrett said. "We’ll take it day to day."
"Zack was just fantastic," Garrett said. "He hurt that ankle early on in the game and just kept playing and fought through it. Really a tough, tough individual. Really a mature guy. I thought he handled that situation well."
Hopefully the MRI won't show something that the regular testing (squeeze and external rotation) didn't in making the assessment of it not being a high ankle sprain.
As crazy as it seems, there are people that say it's not out of the question that Murray could play this week. ESPN's football medical expert, Stephania Bell, comments on it here. The point of reference for everyone seems to be the Emmitt Smith situation, who had to miss a week back in 1999 after having the same injury. Another one brought up is the case of Julio Jones who played after he had the same injury at Alabama. He didn't miss any time. If anybody can do it, Jason Garrett believes that its DeMarco Murray.
"We’ll take first things first," Garrett said. "We’ll see how the surgery goes. The biggest question we have to ask ourselves is: Is he functional to do his job? Can he hold the football? Can he carry it under duress? Can he block? Can he do the things necessary to play the position?"
"He’s as strong-willed and determined an individual as I’ve ever been around. If anybody has a chance to come back, he does. So let’s take first things first and see how the surgery goes. We’ll make our best decisions from there."
The Cowboys will most likely split the duties between Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar on Sunday if Murray can't go. Garrett had this to say about Randle:
"I think the more he's been in this scheme, the more he's been playing at this level, the more confident he's gotten really in every aspect of his game as a special teams player, running down on kicks and making plays there, but also when he goes in on offense," Garrett said.
"Sometimes, that can be challenging when you've been sitting there, sitting there, sitting there watching somebody else play and now it's your turn. I think we've seen him a number of times this year come in and really make some great runs. He certainly did in Chicago. He made a great run when we played over in London against Jacksonville. So, he seemed to be able to step in there in kind of a pinch hitter role and really handle it well."
The Colts are terrible against the run, so the Cowboys might not be in that difficult of a situation if Murray can't go. It might be more important that Free and Martin can play this week than Murray. That would have the first-team offensive line blocking for the substitute backs, hopefully opening the huge holes that Murray has seen much of the year. And it would give Tony Romo some piece of mind in the pocket.