IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys picked up a much-needed win on Thursday, but it seems like it comes with a price.
Today, the Cowboys learned running back Lance Dunbar, who had a career-high 82 rushing yards in Thursday’s win over the Raiders, will likely be out for the season with a knee injury.
Dunbar is expected to undergo surgery on his left knee. The official injury diagnosis is a posterior lateral corner (Posterolateral Corner) that needs to be repaired.
The loss is a big setback considering how much of a spark Dunbar gave the Dallas Cowboys in their 31-24 Thanksgiving Day win over the Oakland Raiders. While DeMarco Murray found the end zone three times on the ground, it was Dunbar who gave the Cowboys’ offense a much-needed jolt.
Dunbar had 12 carries for 82 yards, including a 45-yard run that set up a touchdown.
But late in the fourth quarter, with the Cowboys trying to grind out the clock, Dunbar was hit in the backfield by a blitzing Raiders cornerback. The second-year running back from North Texas went down immediately holding his left knee. He eventually got up and gingerly walked off the field.
After the game, both owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett described it as a hyper-extended left knee. Dunbar said he expected to be “all right” and sounded optimistic for his chances of playing in the next game against Chicago on Dec. 9.
However, today’s MRI revealed more than just a hyper-extension.
Without Dunbar, the Cowboys will likely call on either rookie Joseph Randle or Phillip Tanner to rotate with Murray.
Before Thursday’s game, Dunbar hadn’t received more than five carries in a game this year. He had three carries for 20 yards the week before in New York and figured to have an increased role in the offense.
That carried over into Thursday’s game, where Dunbar also had a reception for 12 yards.
This injury is just the latest setback for Dunbar, who has had untimely injuries this year. He suffered a foot injury in preseason that sidelined him for Week 1 against the Giants. When he came back in Week 2, he lost a fumble against the Chiefs, which likely kept him from getting extended carries and touches in the later weeks.
He suffered a hamstring injury the week before the Redskins game, where Murray also got hurt. So instead of getting his chance to start with Murray out, Dunbar also sat out the same two games.
But that gave Randle a chance to play, which is something he’ll likely be asked to do more in the final month of the season now.