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Fantasy focus: Murray injury will test Dallas' backfield depth


Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray will miss Sunday's game against the Giants with a lingering mid-foot sprain. Murray cannot sustain his body weight and is far from being able to perform football activities. Murray's injury occurred two weeks ago in a game against the Ravens, when his foot contacted the back of a lineman's ankle/foot, causing both a blunt force and a twisting. There is no indication of when this injury will clear up. Murray's response to treatment is going to determine when he can return, but we're clearly looking at a week-to-week situation.

The ligament injury in Murray's mid-foot is far more difficult to read than a "simple" fracture, and requires advanced scans such as an MRI or CT. I spoke via email with noted foot and ankle specialist Dr. Philip Kwong of Kerlan-Jobe in Los Angeles, who explained that injuries like this are "caused by a twisting force on a fully weight-bearing foot much like an object held in a vice, and then rotated with tearing of ligaments and/or breaking bones." Murray avoided the broken bone, but the ligament appears to have gotten the worst of it.

The increase in this kind of injury -- currently, Cedric Benson and Maurice Jones-Drew are out with similar injuries -- may be a Mars Blackmon problem: It might be the shoes. Dr. Kwong explains: "The supple, flexible shoe is popular for intimate feedback for agile response and propulsion. It does not provide much torsional rigidity against twisting forces. A sports car's rigid frame and suspension can better handle the twist and turn of the road than the softer set up in a regular sedan. The traction provided by field turf and the modern materials/pattern of cleats enable precise lateral movement but also anchors the foot to the ground, making it vulnerable to twisting injuries."

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With Murray out, the carries will go to Felix Jones and Philip Tanner. But Jones has a bruise on his knee, leaving the split of carries up in the air. If Jones is able to practice normally by Friday, he will get the bulk of the carries again this week. Tanner remains a solid pick up in deep leagues due to the possibility that Murray's injury extends or Jones continues to lack of durability. Both Jones and Tanner have a tough matchup against the Giants, so neither is expected to be a great fantasy option this week.