Lance Dunbar’s availability for Cowboys opener at risk with foot injury
Seeing how running back DeMarco Murray has struggled stay healthy over first two NFL seasons, it might not be such a bad idea for the Cowboys to consider a quality second option in the backfield. Dunbar, who is heading into his second season with Cowboys, could fit just that role. It would be a considerable bump in Dunbar’s playing time on the Cowboys’ offense as the fits into third down role.
So far this preseason, Dunbar has run eight times for 45 yards and caught six passes for 83 yards, while fumbling only once at the tail end of a long catch-and-run in the third-preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday. But now Dunbar’s status for the rest of the preseason and early regular season is up in the air due to the foot injury.
Dunbar has a sprained left foot, due to which he was wearing a protective boot when the Cowboys returned to practice at Valley Ranch on Monday, after holding the first month of training camp in California. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said that Dunbar is out for this week, and will remain day-to-day after that. However, Todd Archer of ESPNDAllas.com reported that Dunbar could miss up to 3-4 weeks due recovering from the foot injury. This not raises questions about Dunbar’s availability for first few weeks of the regular season, but it could also cost him critical playing time in the Cowboys’ backfield with just two games left to go in the preseason.
The injury along with Dunbar’s uncertainty for the regular season opener will make strong case for the Cowboys to carry four running backs on the team’s 53-man roster this season. Dunbar’s absence will provide fifth-round pick Joseph Randle an opportunity to move up the depth chart, potentially to the No.2 spot. Randal wasn’t immediately impressive in the preseason, but he closely trailed Dunbar in camp and will now have the next few weeks to potentially make a stronger impression. Phillip Tanner is also in the mix to backup Murray, with Dunbar sidelined.