The football gods giveth, and the football gods taketh away.
Just ask Lance Dunbar, who was tearing up the Oakland Raiderslast Thursday and seemingly on his way to a time share in the Dallas Cowboys' backfield before a helmet to the knee ended his season in an instant.
Dunbar underwent surgery Tuesday. The Cowboys, who surely thought they had found their change-of-pace back, are back to the drawing board.
"DeMarco Murray is our lead back, has been our lead back all year long, has done an excellent job for us, did a really good job in the game the other day again," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said, via ESPN.com. "He'll be the lead dog. The other guys, Joseph Randle and Phillip Tanner will have to step up if they have an opportunity if DeMarco can't go."
Murray has battled durability issues and is currently on pace to finish with the most carries of his career. Finding a complement -- or someone who can take over if Murray goes down -- could be the difference between a playoff berth and another December slide.
"We'd like to get the other backs in, give them a role, give a chance to give DeMarco rest, play a series, whatever that is," Garrett said. "We'll come up with what those substitution patterns are as the week goes on. We certainly feel confident in putting those other guys in the game though."
The Cowboys are hosting several free agent running backs for workouts this week. Whoever they sign might have a shot at a legitimate role.