DeMarco Murray had surgery on his left hand on Monday to repair a broken bone suffered late in the game on Sunday versus the Philadelphia Eagles. As of Tuesday night it is unknown whether Murray will be able to play or how much this injury will limit him.
Murray suffered a broken fourth metacarpal bone, the fourth metacarpal is the long bone in the hand that runs from the base of the fourth finger to the wrist. The bone won't fully heal for six weeks. In terms of risk, there's no difference between playing this week or sitting out one game.
It would be a serious blow to an offense that has relied heavily on the NFL's leading rusher if Murray is unable to play. Murray has established career highs in carries with 351 and rushing yards with 1,687 yards.
Murray has 11 100-yard games this season and has scored a career-high 11 touchdowns. Murray has accounted for 38 percent of the Cowboys offense this year, which is the highest in the league. It is the highest that NFL has seen since Adrian Peterson in 2012DeMarco Murray suffered a broken left hand Sunday versus the Eagles.
with 42 percent.
Here is the top 4 players with the highest percentages of their team's yards this season:
Former Dallas Cowboys and Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith broke his right hand and missed one game. This is a guy that only missed 3 games in his career. Murray has already missed 11 games in his career due to lower leg injuries.
The problem with Murray missing this Sunday's game versus the Indianapolis Colts is the magnitude of this game. It is a must win for the Cowboys to have a chance to make it into the playoffs.
When you look at the Cowboys playoff scenarios, it is my opinion that their best chance is to either beat or tie the Colts and the Detroit Lions to lose at Chicago. If that happens then the Cowboys are in the playoffs.
So it is all or nothing this Sunday. But, do the Cowboys want Murray, who has had problems this year with fumbling carrying the ball 20+ times with a broken left hand? It would seem that it would increase his chances of fumbling.
It is clear that even if DeMarco Murray is able to play the Cowboys will have to lean even more on backup running backs Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar. Randle has rushed for 237 yards on 34 carries and has two touchdowns. Dunbar has rushed for 91 yards on 26 carries.
Randle has been very successful this season averaging 7 yards per carry, but he has had some off the field issues with stealing and throwing Dez Bryant and Josh Brent under the bus talking about their legal troubles when he was being arrested for stealing. After that incident blew up, Randle's workload went down, but the Cowboys will need a big game from him Sunday afternoon.
DeMarco Murray, Randle, and Dunbar all have different running styles, but all have been successful this year. Murray is a more patient runner, running mostly zone plays where he waits and reads and looks for the hole and then explodes through the hole. Randle is more of a downhill runner that explodes to the hole and through the hole.
Dunbar is the speed back and is one of the fastest players on the team. Dunbar's strength is running screens and being a receiver out of the backfield. This past Sunday, Dunbar saw his workload increase as he rushed 5 times for 22 yards and caught 1 pass for 6 yards. He averaged 4.4 yards per rush and can really be a weapon with his speed.
To make matters even worse for the Cowboys are the injuries to right guard Zack Martin and right tackle Doug Free. Martin hurt his right ankle in the second quarter versus the Eagles, but gutted it out and continued to play. Doug Free was having issues with his left foot and ankle and was unable to play in the second half.
Jeremy Parnell filled in for Free against the Eagles and will replace him versus the Indianapolis Colts if Free is unable to go.
The Indianapolis Colts have the 16th ranked run defense in the NFL so there is room for the Cowboys to run and the Colts rank 14th versus the pass.
The Cowboys run game will be just fine with Randle for the short term, the thing that must scare the Cowboys coaches are the blitz pickups that Murray with his size can do, but Randle being undersized will struggle with that part. They need to make sure they game plan for that, especially with all the trouble the Cowboys have had this season with the blitz.