ARLINGTON, Texas – The Cowboys' big win Sunday night didn't come without some big injuries, it seems.
Dallas clamped down on Washington for a 31-16 division win, but as it did so, two of the best players on the roster watched from the sideline. DeMarco Murray and DeMarcus Ware started the game with high expectations, but they finished their nights in shorts and t-shirts as their unheralded backups made the plays that put the Redskins away.
"You know, obviously both those guys were out for the rest of the game after they had their injuries, and the younger guys had to step up and they did a nice job," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. "Those are important players on our football team, though."
Murray seemed poised for a big night when he carried six times for 23 yards and a touchdown and caught a 16-yard pass on the Cowboys' first possession of the night. He would touch the ball just three more times before leaving the game for good early in the second quarter, however – an injury Garrett classified as an MCL sprain.
"We'll see how he is in the morning as to what the prognosis is going forward," Garrett said.
Ware finished with three tackles and a quarterback hurry before a exited with a strained quad just before halftime. Garrett said the team would evaluate the Pro Bowler going forward this week.
The fact that neither player finished the game in uniform seems like a bad prospect for their availability in the short-term future. Ware has battled a laundry list of injuries – from stingers to back strains – through the first portion of the season, and Murray missed six games in 2012 with a sprained foot.
Murray also missed three games in 2011 in addition to his six absences in 2012, giving him nine total misses in 38 career games. Ware played all 16 games last season, and he has yet to miss a game in 2013, but the staggering amount of injuries he's faced have hindered his effectiveness.
That said, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said following the game that he felt good about each player's prospects to return quickly.
"We'll have to see on both of them. I did talk to DeMarcu and he seemed optimistic that he could be back out there. I didn't talk to the trainer," Jones said. "We actually thought DeMarco was going to be back out there, but decided against it. That's where that is. I don't know how to talk about it until next week, but just from what I heard it doesn't seem long-term there with them."
Jones added: "I think that's way early and way premature to say we're going to be without Ware. But I think we can win ballgames with the players we've got."