Among other things he discussed in the wake of Thursday's disappointing Thanksgiving Day loss, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he didn't know when or if injured running back DeMarco Murray might be able to return to action. Murray has missed six straight games since spraining his foot in Week 6 in Baltimore, and the Dallas running game has struggled for consistency in his absence. Jones said he can't be sure Murray will be ready for next Sunday's game against the Eagles.
"We can't get a prognosis that another week's rest will do anything"” Jones said after Thursday's 38-31 loss. "It's all depending on how he pushes off."
Murray suffered the injury Oct. 14 at Baltimore and has been on the practice field only three times since, and that was just for rehab. He said prior to the Cleveland game there would be a chance he would see action soon, but didn't.
The hope is that he will return Dec. 2 against Philadelphia, but coach Jason Garrett made reference to Murray’s "slow progress" Wednesday.
One of the stories of this Cowboys season has been the lack of depth on a roster that has a few very talented players, but not enough talent in enough places. Murray is their best running back, but the dropoff from him to Felix Jones, Lance Dunbar and Phillip Tanner has proven to be precipitous. None of the replacements has shown Murray's ability to absorb contact and continue running -- an essential quality for a back that's trying to run behind the Cowboys' struggling offensive line.
It's hard to say for certain that the past six games would have gone better for the Cowboys had Murray been playing. They are 3-3 without him and were 2-3 with him, and this season has offered no evidence that the Cowboys are anything other than a basically .500 team. But Murray's absence is forcing the offense to be more one-dimensional than it would like to be, and there are critical times at which that shows up and hurts them.