Cowboys DeMarco: Practicing With Broken Hand
Fish reported in this space early Tuesday morning that the Dallas Cowboys were optimistic running back DeMarco Murray would work to find a way to protect his hand following Monday surgery and still play in Sunday's game against the visiting Colts ... and Wednesday was the first step towards doing just that.
On Tuesday afternoon, Murray was in the locker room wearing a gigantic cast over his left hand and wrist, with thumb and a few fingers protruding. By Wednesday, the cast was gone, replaced by what Fish describes as "a Mickey Mouse-sized glove featuring a thick pad on the back of the hand.
*Murray, the NFL’s leading rusher, began the day by catching pat-and-go passes from the QBs. There was no indication he was avoiding catching with his left hand.
*Murray then participated fully in footwork drills (you can see our video and discuss here) and then took snaps in a few more drills before, according to CowboysHQ sources, giving way to Joseph Randle for some of the full-time work.
*The Cowboys will publicly note Murray as a “game-time decision’' for the Colts, but all they really need to see from Murray to keep him in the backfield is some functionality of the hand. They are seeing that now.
*Dallas doesn't normally hit Murray during practice so there is no real danger there. Come Sunday, the Mickey Mouse pad might be increased to something thicker, depending on how Murray feels.
*Murray told us on Tuesday that he was not experiencing pain in the hand. So this becomes a matter of working through concerns that include his ability to grasp the ball with his left hand (even though he prefers to carry it with his right), to catch passes out of the backfield and to pass-block when "live bullets'' are flying.
*Dallas has faith in Joseph Randle (and scatback Lance Dunbar) to be ready here. Dunbar could be used as a third-down back especially if Murray's only real limitation is as a pass-catcher.
Dallas, 10-4 and chasing a playoff berth, is also working through injury concerns with offensive linemen Doug Free (foot/ankle) and Zack Martin (ankle). Neither of them practiced on Wednesday. Middle linebacker Rolando McClain and defensive tackle Josh Brent also sat out.
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