So how about this for a turn of events? Every national outlet has been reporting that Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray will be a “go” for today’s game against the Detroit Lions, since he practiced all week and has made every effort to return early from the MCL sprain he suffered two weeks ago against the Washington Redskins. But Cowboys official site beat writer Bryan Broaddus isn’t sold, as he reports that DeMarco Murray is “very doubtful” to play in today’s game.
Per Broaddus, Murray pushed himself too hard in order to play in this week’s game, and I don’t think anybody should be surprised by that. It is very easy to suffer a setback on an MCL sprain, and returning too early can actually screw a player over for the rest of the season (see: Jackson, Fred). Murray was able to practice all week, but it seemed like the Cowboys brass was pumping the breaks on their optimism as the week rolled on. At first, Jerry Jones used words similar to “hope” to describe Murray, and then Stephen Jones said he was optimistic on Friday. However, Jones did say, “We want to do right for DeMarco for the season not just one game.”
If you want to do “right for DeMarco”, then don’t make him return in two weeks from an injury that takes three or four weeks to heal from. Rushing him back can jeopardize his status for the rest of his season and leave him more susceptible to a setback. I wonder if the Cowboys put some pressure on Murray to return early, because it was reported last week that the Cowboys weren’t sold on Murray as the RB of the future. That would have to deal with uncertainty over Murray’s ability to stay healthy, because there is little doubt that he’s a very good running back when healthy (if you don’t believe me, look at the stats and analytics).
Murray is going to be a game-time decision today, and his status is still fully up-in-the-air. The national media thinks he’ll play, whereas one report from the official site beat guy says that he pushed himself too hard. If he isn’t able to play, then it will be interesting to see if Joseph Randle or Lance Dunbar gets the majority of the team’s carries.