Dallas Cowboys

DeMarco Murray on path to play for Cowboys on Sunday

Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray is careful not to put his left hand down drink pre-practice stretching Wedneday.
Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray is careful not to put his left hand down drink pre-practice stretching Wedneday. Star-Telegram

Officially, DeMarco Murray did not practice Wednesday. He didn’t take part in team drills, which is the determining factor in the NFL’s practice report policy.

Murray, however, did go through some early individual drills during the first 30 minutes, which is open to the media.

Murray wore a pad on his left hand two days after undergoing surgery to repair a broken bone in his hand.

The Dallas Cowboys have not determined if Murray will be able to play Sunday against the Colts, but it seems that going through individual drills less than 48 hours after surgery is a good sign for Murray.

“He’s going to do everything he can to play,” quarterback Tony Romo said. “I expect DeMarco to be out there. We’ll adjust if not.”

Murray is the NFL’s rushing leader with 1,687 yards and is on pace to break Emmitt Smith’s single-season franchise record of 1,773 yards rushing. He’s also a large part of the Cowboys’ offensive attack, carrying it a league-high 351 times as well as having 54 catches out of the backfield.

The Cowboys have expressed confidence in backups Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar if Murray can’t go.

Outside of participating in the individual drills, Murray can also grip with his left hand. Smith missed one game with a similar surgery in 1999, but he couldn’t grip the ball.

Murray carries the ball predominantly in his right hand, blaming some of his early-season fumbling issues on carrying it with his left. All of that bodes well for him to play Sunday.

“We’ll see how functional he is,” coach Jason Garrett said. “How he can hold the ball, hold it under duress, catch the ball, block, do all the things necessary to play. We’ll try to ease him into drills and practice as the week goes on and see where he is.”

Murray has never played a full 16-game season in his four-year career, missing games in the past because of a broken ankle, sprained foot and sprained knee.

More injury news

Right guard Zack Martin, right tackle Doug Free and linebacker Rolando McClain were among the other notable players who did not participate in Wednesday’s practice.

Martin and Free are each dealing with ankle injuries, while McClain is listed with a knee injury. McClain also said his back and ribs were bothering him after Sunday’s game against the Eagles.

Martin said his ankle was “feeling better” as he walked into the training room, but he didn’t know if he’d be able to practice Thursday.

“Day by day,” Martin said.

Other players who missed practice included defensive tackle Josh Brent (calf) and linebacker Dekoda Watson (hamstring). Romo also didn’t participate, as he stuck with his usual plan of taking Wednesdays off.

Romo on postseason

The Cowboys are in a somewhat precarious position when it comes to the playoffs.

They are leading the NFC East and control their own destiny to at least host a playoff game on wild-card weekend. Home-field advantage is also within reach, just as much as missing the playoffs altogether.

What does the star quarterback think of it all?

“We feel like we’ve been in the playoffs for the entire month of December,” Romo said. “You knew going into Chicago [two weeks ago] that if you didn’t win that game, it was going to be very difficult to have any chance at getting in.

“We’re just going to keep that attitude and keep going.”

Williams ready

Running back Ryan Williams knows a thing or two about injuries. He had knee and shoulder injuries that cut short his career in Arizona after the Cardinals made him a second-round pick in 2011.

Now, Williams might get a shot at a second chance with the Cowboys.

He acknowledges Dallas could call him up from the practice squad to join the 53-player roster this week if Murray isn’t able to play.

“I’m just taking it in stride,” Williams said. “Every day is another day. I haven’t been pulled up yet, so as of now, I’m just doing the same thing I’ve been doing all season, and that’s just getting ready for the next day and trying to prepare myself for the next day.”

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @drewdavison

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