IRVING, Texas – It's not just DeMarco Murray in doubt for this weekend, but two of the guys blocking for him.
Both Doug Free and Zack Martin suffered ankle injuries Sunday night against Philadelphia, making their availability a question mark for Sunday's game against Indianapolis. Martin twisted his ankle during the second quarter, and he was able to tape it up and return.
Free, however, left the game with ankle problems of his own and ceded the starting right tackle spot to Jermey Parnell for the rest of the night.
"They've been getting evaluated today," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett on Monday afternoon. "Doug got an MRI and we'll see what the results are of that. He's been dealing with that foot/ankle injury a little bit here the last month or so."
Garrett was alluding to the foot fracture Free suffered late in the Oct. 5 win against Seattle. The injury forced the veteran tackle to miss three games at midseason – the 31-21 win against New York, the 20-17 loss to Washington and the 28-17 to Arizona.
Martin, however, has missed next-to-no time since he was drafted No. 16 overall in the spring. The rookie has been a starter since Day 1, and he seemed determined not to allow the injury to force him off the field during the game.
"Zack was just fantastic," Garrett said. "He hurt that ankle early on in the game and just kept playing and fought through it, really a tough, tough individual, really mature guy. I thought he handled that situation well."
Asked about it after the game, the rookie was slightly more understated in his evaluation of the injury.
"I twisted it, and we'll see how it is. But I just taped it up and got back to it," Martin said.
Fortunately for the Cowboys, offensive line is a spot of relative depth this season. The Cowboys have a tenured starter in Mackenzy Bernadeau behind Martin and Ronald Leary at guard. Bernadeau started at right guard for much of last season after veteran Brian Waters tore his triceps.
As for the right tackle spot, Parnell got plenty of snaps Sunday night – not to mention the extensive playing time he earned when Free was injured earlier this season.
"That's always a big test for a guy who hasn't played a lot, who's been a backup player, is can you just go in and can you function on play one and do your job over and over and over again? He certainly has the physical ability to do it," Garrett said. "I think he's handled himself well in a mature manner to show he can go in emotionally and handle those situations. Looks like he played well in the ballgame."
The Cowboys don't return to the practice field until Wednesday, so it doesn't look likely Garrett will rush to make a ruling on either starter's availability for the weekend. Instead, Garrett opted for his familiar refrain.
"I think that both of those guys are sore today, we'll just take them day-by-day and see how they do," he said.