This Sunday the Colts get a real test against a very good offense after weeks of seeing players like Blake Bortles, Colt McCoy, Brian Hoyer, and then
Ryan Fitzpatrick Tom Savage. The Cowboys' Tony Romo, however, is having a very good season and provides a tough test for the Colts' defense. But Romo isn't the best player on the Cowboys' offense - that designation belongs to running back DeMarco Murray, who is the league's leading rusher.
Murray, however, has undergone hand surgery, leaving his status for Sunday's game against the Colts in serious question. Stephen Jones, the Executive VP and Director of Player Personnel for the Cowboys, said on Monday that Murray suffered a broken bone in his left hand that required surgery. Our friends over at Blogging the Boys quote Jones as saying that, "It's probably a tough expectation to think that he can [play this weekend], but we'll see." Jones used the example of Emmitt Smith, who had the same injury yet missed only one game before he was back. So the outlook long-term for Dallas (as the playoffs quickly approach) looks good, but there is a very real possibility that Murray will miss Sunday's game against the Colts in Dallas.
The loss of Murray would be absolutely huge for the Cowboys, as he has tallied up 405 total touches this season. He's rushed for 1,687 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging 4.8 yards per carry, while also 395 yards receiving. He has rushed for at least 100 yards in eleven of the team's fourteen games this season. His backup, Joseph Randle, has rushed 34 times for 237 yards (7 yards per carry) and two scores on the year, so he's not a bad backup, but he's not DeMarco Murray. Certainly, the Cowboys have an incredible offensive line, but Murray has also done a great job this year.
It's important to note that Murray has not been ruled out yet and that the Cowboys hope he can play on Sunday, but there are serious questions about whether that will actually happen. From a Colts' point of view, I actually hope Murray plays. The Colts have locked up their playoff berth, and while there is seeding on the line the Colts have more to play for than that: they need to get better. There's only so much improvement that playing below average offenses can bring. The four best offenses the Colts have faced this year have been the four games the Colts have lost. Come playoff time, they'll have to play good offenses, and that's what the Cowboys are. This is really the last time until the playoffs that the Colts will play a good team with a good offense, and I actually hope Murray plays and that Dallas is at full strength. It would be a very , very good test for this Colts' defense. But whether or not Murray actually plays is in doubt after he had surgery on a broken bone in his left hand. This will certainly be something to watch as the week goes on.
[UPDATE:] This from NFL Network's Albert Breer:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray having surgery for fractured left hand ... I'm told he has a good chance to play this week against Indy.</p>— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) <a href="https://twitter.com/AlbertBreer/status/544595182256406529">December 15, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>