The Dallas Cowboys are hoping DeMarco Murray will return this week for their NFC East showdown with the Eagles in Philadelphia on Sunday, but the NFL sophomore still has several tests to pass before being cleared to play on the strained foot that has kept him on the sidelines for the team’s past three games.
Murray suffered the injury in the loss to the Ravens, and though MRIs revealed no major structural issues, the ligament damage in the foot was widespread and severe enough to keep the Oklahoma product off the field ever since. He has reportedly passed some of the battery of tests required before returning and ran on the foot a little last week, but the Cowboys aren’t taking any chances.
“The process you go through with an injury like that is you have different thresholds,” head coach Jason Garrett said, per ESPN Dallas. “He has to be able to do different things. He has to be able to 10 times go up and down on his toes. Then, he has to be able to hop on his foot by itself without any pain. Then, he has to be able to jog. All that kind of stuff. So there’s a number of different thresholds that he has to get past before he can even practice. We obviously want him to practice before he plays in the game.”
There’s no doubt that Dallas has missed Murray over the past few weeks. In three games in his absence, they haven’t gone over the 100-yard mark as a team, and in the crucial loss to the Giants in week nine, the run game was all but non-existent; Felix Jones accounted for all of the Cowboys’ 19 yards on the ground, and in a crucial 2nd-and-1 situation late in the game, the team passed three consecutive times. Which has been read by many as evidence that Dallas has very little trust in the running game sans Murray.
“I think if you look at the games that he’s played we’ve had a lot of success running the football and that’s helped our football team,” Garrett said. “It’s helped us play better up front in the offensive line. It’s helped us throw the ball better. We’ve probably played better defense when he’s played for us.”
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