Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray took a step closer toward playing in Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts by participating in practice Thursday - albeit on a limited basis.
It was Murray's first official work with the team since undergoing surgery on Monday to repair a broken bone in his left hand. He had a metal plate and screws inserted to repair a fractured fourth metacarpal, suffered in the fourth quarter of last Sunday's victory against the Eagles.
Murray did some individual work on Wednesday but did not officially participate in practice.
On Thursday, he did individual work and got some team reps as the Cowboys gauged his ability to function following the surgery. That he was able to grip the ball was a key part of the equation and Murray appeared to do that just fine in practice.
Practice squad running back Ryan Williams said Murray looked good, and there's no doubt in his mind that he is playing.
Owner Jerry Jones said he's encouraged by what he saw Murray do in practice.
"Well, I am by the fact he's so aggressive in his thinking about playing," Jones said. "At the end of the day, whenever you talk to doctors or trainers, when you get right down to it, well, the player has to tell us whether he feels [like] playing or not. I'm glad to know there is not a lot of risk of extending injury time or exacerbating the injury, which is a good thing. If he can feel comfortable and tolerate and execute, then he will play."
In other injury news, quarterback Tony Romo (back) and linebacker Rolando McClain (knee) both returned to practice after sitting out on Wednesday.
Guard Zach Martin (ankle) and tackle Doug Free (ankle) missed their second day of practice after being injured against the Eagles. Martin may be a game-time decision on Sunday, while Free is not expected to play.
Defensive tackle Josh Brent (calf) and linebacker DeKoda Watson (hamstring) did not practice and are expected to miss their second and third straight games, respectively.