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Garrett Not Ready To Rule Out Murray, But Has Plenty Of Confidence In Backup RBs

IRVING, Texas -  Whether the Cowboys are coming off a huge road win to take sole possession of first place, or if they had just lost a close game at home, either way head coach Jason Garrett is going to talk about the "day-by-day" approach, always focusing on the present.

And that didn't change Monday, even with the news that his star running back DeMarco Murray underwent surgery on his fractured left hand and has a chance to miss this all-important upcoming game with the Colts.

Swarmed with questions about not one, not two, but three running backs behind Murray, Garrett deflected all of that and focused on seeing how Murray responds to the surgery, which occurred late Monday afternoon. 

"We'll just see how that surgery goes and hopefully he'll be back soon," Garrett said, unwilling to rule him out for this week's game with the Colts at AT&T Stadium. "The biggest question we have to ask ourselves is he functional to do his job. Can he hold the football, can he carry it under duress, can he block, and can he do the things necessary to play the position. Obviously using your hands are important in football. But we'll just take it day by day and see how he does."

Garrett reiterated that if there is a chance for Murray to play, the head coach said he believes he will.

"He's as strong-willed and determined an individual as I've ever been around," Garrett said of Murray. "If anybody has a chance to come back, he does. Let's take first things first and see how the surgery goes and we'll make our best decisions from there."

Garrett said Murray injured his hand late in the fourth quarter of the Cowboys' 38-27 win over the Eagles. It was just the third game of the season Murray failed to reach 100 yards, rushing for just 81 on 31 carries. But he did score two touchdowns, giving him a career-high 11 this year.

Murray continues to lead the NFL in rushing with 1,687 yards, just 86 behind Emmitt Smith's single-season franchise record of 1,773 set in 1995.

But for now, the focus might have to shift to Murray's backups, both Lance Dunbar and Joseph Randle.

"We have a lot of confidence in those guys, obviously," Garrett said of both players. "We like to give them opportunities in game to spell DeMarco and just to give those guys a shot. I thought (Sunday) night was a good example of how those guys have consistently taken advantages of those opportunities.  Joseph got a couple of carries and was productive with his I felt Lance did a really nice job in that game. At the end of the game handling the football and doing some good things. He made some good runs. They weren't splash runs, but they were really positive runs at critical moments in that ballgame."

Randle ranks second on the team with 237 yards on 34 carries, averaging a team-best 7.0 yards per carry. Dunbar has just 26 carries for 91 yards, but also has 16 catches for 207 yards.

And perhaps the Cowboys might have to consider calling up Ryan Williams from the practice squad. The former second-round pick from the Cardinals battled through injuries for most of his career but was productive for the Cowboys during the preseason.

"He's done a very good job. His attitude all year long and his work ethic has been really outstanding," Garrett said of Williams. "He wanted to earn an opportunity to be here, played very well in the pre-season, worked very hard every day to make himself a better player and help our football team."

Williams, along with Randle and Dunbar, might have to all help in an actual game come Sunday. 

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