The allure and promise of what could be with Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray needs to start giving way to what actually is. Fantasy owners can't rest their hopes on a player who, due to injuries, isn't able to take the field.
Murray has missed the last six games with a sprained left foot, but it appears he is making real progress toward playing for the first time since Week 6.
According to Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas, Murray was on the practice field for the Cowboys on Monday doing rehab work and "could practice some this week after missing the last six games with a sprained left foot."
Just hearing that news is enough to make fantasy owners' ears perk up, but is Murray a player who is really worth the trouble at this stage of the game. Considering how much time he has missed already, not to mention how frail he has been throughout his career, is he really worth the investment at this point?
Sadly, the answer is no. Murray was a pleasant surprise last season, running for 897 yards and two touchdowns on just 164 carries. But he only managed to play in just 13 games, missing the last three games due to an ankle injury.
In an interview with the Dallas Morning News prior to the start of last season, Murray made a point to say that he is not an injury-prone player.
I really don't pay too much attention to that. People will say I'm injury prone. I've gotten used to it. It's not like I've been hurt every single year where I play four or five games, then miss one or two. I missed two games my junior year (at Oklahoma) and three my freshman year.
Now, 12 weeks into the 2012 season, Murray has played in just five games. He was certainly productive when he was on the field, running for 330 yards on 75 carries, but there has to be some level of trust fantasy owners have with a player.
Whether Murray wants to admit it or not, he is earning the label of an injury-prone player. It is wholly justified right now, so fantasy owners need to start accepting the reality for what it is, rather than turn a blind eye to it and just start him whenever he comes back healthy.
Plus, when you a running back with a history of ankle problems, which Murray obviously does right now, you never know what hit will be the one that knocks him out. If he starts a game, he might play one snap, go down and be done.
The upside in Murray is huge, and will keep him relevant in fantasy for a long time, but to hope that he is capable of being a truly dominant star and a No. 1 back is asking too much.
NFL teams are forced to make tough decisions on incredibly talented players every season. Fantasy owners sometimes have to do the same thing, though they aren't exactly ruining a man's life when they do it.
Murray is too much of an injury risk at this stage of his career, which, admittedly, is still in the embryonic stages of development. Let him prove he is capable of dominating and staying healthy, then put him on your roster.