IRVING, Texas – When Tony Romo suffered two transverse process fractures earlier this season, the Dallas Cowboys looked at the past as an indicator as to when their quarterback would be able to play again.
Romo missed one game, like Baylor's Bryce Petty this season.
Emmitt Smith missed one game in 1999 after having the surgery. Terrell Owens had the same surgery in 2006 but did not miss a game because the Cowboys had the bye week for him to recover longer.
“Every player is different, every injury is different, I understand that,” coach Jason Garrett said, “but understanding maybe what the parameters are through the history of the injury can sometimes give you good indication as to how to proceed and really how to think about it.”
If the Cowboys need to find a running back to have played through a fractured fourth metacarpal then Eddie Lacy is a case study. He broke his hand while at Alabama playing against Western Carolina. In the next two games against Auburn in the Iron Bowl and Georgia in the SEC championship game, Lacy carried the ball 38 times for 312 yards and four touchdowns.
He had surgery after the Georgia game before the Crimson Tide played Notre Dame in the BCS Championship.
"For practice that week they put a big Q-shaped thing on it," Lacy told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal in 2013. "I really couldn't use the hand but I could run and pretty much pass protect. When I got hit, I couldn't feel it. Then by the time the game came I put my normal glove on and put a little covering over it. Sometimes it hurt, sometimes it was all right.
"I saw the crack in it on the X-ray but I didn't think too much of it. I said, 'I'll play with it.' You pretty much have to do it.”
Sources told ESPN’s Ed Werder the Cowboys are confident he will be able to play Sunday against the Colts. Speaking on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Tuesday, owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Murray would not need to practice in order to play Sunday.
“When they say the definition of healing, I'm not so sure how much it can heal between now and Sunday," Jones said. "I haven't been shown examples of where someone has had an injury like this. It's not uncommon. I'm not saying it's an everyday occurrence, but it's not uncommon for a back to have a hand injury. They do take some hits on that hand. But I know it's in a place where it can really be protected. We do that and we see that often with different kind of hand injuries. Certainly he's got a lot of parts to his game that work - protection, what he does, frankly, with that hand when he's running with the ball, he usually carries it in his right hand. All of those things, it's conceivable to me, it's not unrealistic that it could work with him being ready."