Entering the 2012 season Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray was a first-round pick in many fantasy football drafts by teams that expected him to build on a rookie season that saw Murray top 250 rushing yards in a game before even starting one.
However, those same fantasy owners have been disappointed by a string of mostly lackluster performances, and now a lingering foot injury casts even more doubt over Murray's fantasy value for the rest of the 2012 season.
Murray, who suffered the injury two weeks ago and was forced to sit out Week 7's win over the Carolina Panthers, was set to undergo further testing on the foot Monday according to Todd Archer of ESPN.
Until the results of those tests become known it's hard to pinpoint an exact timetable for Murray's return to action, although head coach Jason Garrett told Brandon George of The Dallas Morning News that the team was hopeful Murray would return to practice in some capacity on Wednesday.
“We’ll wait and see on that,” Garrett said. “We’re certainly optimistic. He’s proven to be someone who heals quickly. We’ll monitor him day by day, but we’ll have to wait and see.”
The Cowboys would certainly like to get Murray back in the fold for this week's huge NFC East showdown, as the Week 8 status of backup Felix Jones is also up in the air after Jones suffered a bruised knee in the third quarter of the game with the Panthers.
Fantasy owners would also no doubt like to see Murray back in action this week, as it was against the Giants in Week 1 that he enjoyed by far his best game of the season, rushing for 131 yards on 20 carries in a win in New York.
For those fantasy owners, unfortunately, there's little to do but wait and hope that the results of Monday's tests bring with them good news. Obviously you can't just cut bait on your first-round running back, and an attempt to trade Murray right now would probably garner precious little in return.
In fact, if anything DeMarco Murray is a "buy low" candidate right now, as brave fantasy owners might be able to get him at a discount from teams that are floundering and can't afford to wait for Murray to return.
With that said though there are a couple of items to keep in mind before assembling that trade offer. First, this is the second straight year that Murray has missed time with foot problems, and the durability question is becoming a real concern with him.
Also, even if Murray is healthy the Cowboys have had very little success running the football this season, averaging only 3.8 yards per carry and ranking 20th in the NFL on the ground.
There's no denying that DeMarco Murray is a very talented running back capable of posting big fantasy numbers, but every year there are a handful of ballcarriers about whom you can say the same thing that for whatever reason fail to do so.
Like it or not it appears more likely than not at this point in the season that DeMarco Murray is set to join that group in 2012.