Lance Dunbar’s injury puts him in an awkward position

Lance Dunbar was on pace to set career highs in virtually every category before he tore his ACL.
Matthew Emmons/Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys had a difficult time dealing with injuries this year, and one that they certainly couldn’t afford was Lance Dunbar’s season ending injury.

Dunbar tore his ACL in Week 4 against the New Orleans Saints.

That timing is absolutely devastating for Dunbar, as he’s set to become a free agent in March.

Dunbar likely won’t get too many calls when he hits free agency. The 25-year-old running back has never been given an opportunity to be an every down back, and he really hasn’t shown that he’s capable of that workload.

But Dunbar was off to a tremendous start to his 2015 season. In his four games, Dunbar tallied five carries for 67 yards and added another 215 yards receiving. Had he played every game this season, he would have smashed his previous single-season highs of 150 yards rushing and 217 yards receiving. But the injury kept Dunbar off the field, and that’s incredibly frustrating, as he told ESPN’s Todd Archer.

“It’s very frustrating,” Dunbar said. “My whole career every time I got an opportunity, I got hurt or something bad happened. It just makes me stronger to keep fighting through all the adversity and get better. I’ll have another opportunity and when it comes I’ll be ready for it.”.

Was that quick frame of work enough to convince the Cowboys to offer him another contract?

That seems to be his best bet at the moment. Darren McFadden emerged as the Cowboys’ new feature back, and while Dallas may look towards free agency to improve their running game, Dunbar can probably find a role with Dallas as a receiving back. And Dunbar sounds eager for that opportunity. More from Archer:

“Before the season I knew what my role was going to be and we worked on it a lot and we actually became good at things I was doing out of the backfield,” Dunbar said. “Unfortunately I got hurt. Hopefully we can pick up where we left off. Just got to work, get back healthy and the rest will take care of itself.”

Whatever the case may be, Dunbar is going to have to continue rehabbing and training. If he’s able to convince the Cowboys or any other team he will be ready for work come next season, he might pleasantly surprise a team.

Tommy Chalk writes about the NFL and NHL for FOX Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @Tommy_Chalk