The Dallas Cowboys defeated their NFC East rival, the Washington Redskins, on Sunday night 31-16. But the victory was costly for the Cowboys. Starting running back DeMarco Murray suffered an injury to his left knee early on in the second quarter of the game. He returned to the sidelines in street clothes, which is never a good sign. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett quickly addressed the injury after the game.
“DeMarco Murray has an MCL sprain. And we’ll see how he is in the morning as to what the prognosis is going forward.”
Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones told the media that he believed the injury wasn’t serious or long-term:
“We actually thought DeMarco was going to be back out there, but decided against it. That’s where that is. I don’t know how to talk about it until next week, but just from what I heard it doesn’t seem long-term there with them.”
We’ll obviously know more about the significance of the injury after Murray gets his results back from a MRI, which he has scheduled for today. Depending on the severity of the sprain, there are many different possibilities as to when Murray might return to the field.
But as a recent example, Baltimore Ravens wideout Jacoby Jones also suffered a sprained MCL (a grade two-plus tear) in Week One against the Denver Broncos. His expected recovery time was four to six weeks. Jones just returned to action this past Sunday. And despite being a little stiff, he recorded two receptions for 42 yards and a touchdown in a loss to the Green Bay Packers. Again, until we know the severity of the injury, any estimate of when Murray would return is purely speculation.
If this injury does keep Murray out for a significant amount of time, he will probably now be carrying around the label “injury-prone” until he proves otherwise. The former Oklahoma Sooner has yet to play an entire season with the Cowboys due to various injuries. In 2011, a fractured right ankle and high ankle sprain ended his rookie season prematurely in Week 14. The following year, he played in just ten games due to a sprained foot.
Now in his third season, this latest injury could hinder what was to become Murray best year as a Cowboy. After six games, Murray recorded 428 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He’s also added 24 receptions for 164 yards. Murray was the NFL’s fifth leading rusher going into Sunday’s game against Washington.
Piling on more bad news for Dallas is that Murray’s primary back-up, Lance Dunbar, was also out Sunday due to a hamstring injury. If they are both out for this weekend’s match-up against the Philadelphia Eagles, second-year running back Phillip Tanner and rookie Joseph Randle will likely split time in the backfield.