IRVING, Texas – It was only a one-word answer, but it might be the most insightful word that's been given about DeMarco Murray's playing status this weekend.
Asked if he would ultimately decide whether he was capable of playing in Sunday's game against Indianapolis, Murray supplied that one word himself.
"Probably," he said.
That seems a bit non-committal, but it's got to mean something if the decision to play isn't so much a coaching or medical decision, but a call made by the player. And Murray, the NFL's leading rusher, happens to be an ultra-competitive player, at that.
"I'm competitive, very competitive person, and I want to help this team out as much as I can," he said. "Whatever that portrays me doing come Sunday, we'll see from there. I've got two good days, and we'll see how it goes."
Murray took full-team practice reps with the Cowboys on Thursday, one day after he sat out of the heavy lifting. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Murray's presence at practice Wednesday was merely a warmup, but the Cowboys increased that workload on the second day of game prep.
"His feedback is really important and how he's feeling," Garrett said. "And then, how he feels he's holding the ball and doing some of the things that he's really required to do to play in a ball game. That's where it starts."
The Cowboys aren't practicing with pads the rest of the season, and Murray won't be taking much, if any contact, as he prepares for Sunday. He said the decision will likely come from a combination of how well he can function in his role, on top of how well he can handle the pain.
Not that you'd want to put words in his mouth, but Murray was also sure to mention the magnitude of the Cowboys' next two games tow the Cowboys' season. The team's first trip to the playoffs during Murray's career is at stake.
"People deal with injuries all the time, so you've got to be able to fight through the pain. These are some important games that we've got coming up, and I know how important they are, we know how important they are," he said. "Whatever we can do to get these wins is definitely crucial and vital to what we want to do in the playoffs and trying to get there."
There's still one more practice this week for Murray to showcase what he can do, and he was sure to repeat the mantra of taking the process a step at a time. It still has to be encouraging for the Cowboys that their star ball-carrier has taken part in both days of practice, rather than waiting until the end of the week.
"That's a positive sign. He did a little more today than he did yesterday, and we'll see a little more tomorrow," said offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.
It might be different if it was September, and the Cowboys had 13 or 14 more games to worry about. With the stakes on the line, and on the line now, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said it should come down to what Murray thinks.
Jones himself made it clear what his opinion is.
"We've got to put it all out here. If he can help us win, that's the smart decision as far as strategy is concerned," he said. "As it turns out, this isn't strategy. This is about him. I do know that his attitude about it is inspiring for everybody."
Swamped by reporters at his locker on Thursday, Murray was sure not to say too much. But his calm demeanor suggested a certain amount of confidence. Don't count on finding many who'd be willing to count him out.
"DeMarco is unique, now. You could compare him, but this guy is like -- there's nothing holding this guy from doing anything," Linehan said. "So I don't put anything behind what he can do with cast or pad or whatever. He's one the great competitors I've ever been around."