Cowboys RB Murray back at practice two days after surgery
IRVING, Texas -- Two days removed from surgery, DeMarco Murray attended the Cowboys' first practice of Week 16 in preparation for Sunday's game against Indianapolis.
It wasn't a padded practice, but it was still a bit surprising to see Murray suited up and participating in position drills with the rest of the Cowboys' running backs. It's been less than 48 hours since he underwent minor surgery on the fourth metacarpal in his left hand -- which he broke toward the tail end of Sunday's win against Philadelphia.
"We don't anticipate him practicing much, but he's got to move around and get himself physically ready to play in this game -- in and around that hand," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. "As we go, we'll just see how functional he is -- how he can hold the ball, hold it under duress, catch the ball, block -- do all the things necessary to play."
Murray appeared to have bandaging on the injured hand, underneath his gloves. He went through the full gamut of running back-specific drills, including carrying and catching balls. It remains to be seen how the Cowboys will list his participation on their Wednesday injury report, or if they will allow him to participate in the full-team portion of the practice.
Garrett did say Wednesday morning that the Cowboys will try to ease him into more work as the week goes along.
"I think we need to see something where there's a comfort level that we all have, and certainly a comfort level that he has," he said. "Carrying the football is an important responsibility. You have to be able to do it. I think we all want to see it, I know he wants to see it. So we'll take it day-by-day and see how he progresses."
In the meantime, Garrett also gave a vote of confidence to his other tailbacks, Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar. He also mentioned that the Cowboys might increase the workload of practice squad running back Ryan Williams, who could be activated to the 53-man roster if Murray is unavailable.
If in fact the NFL's rushing leader can't go against the Colts, Garrett said he was confident in the rest of his backs to handle the load.
"Both Joe Randle and Lance Dunbar have done a lot of good things for us up to this point this year, so we have a lot of confidence in those guys to really put them in any situation that we'd ask a running back to do," he said.
Elsewhere on the Cowboys' practice fields, Doug Free, Zack Martin, Rolando McClain, Dekoda Watson and Josh Brent were all absent from practice. Tony Romo also sat out, in keeping with his typical Wednesday practice schedule.
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