Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray is helped from the field during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
ARLINGTON, Texas — Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray broke his right ankle Sunday night, ending his record-setting rookie season and creating another obstacle for Dallas in its bid for a playoff berth.
Murray burst onto the scene by rushing for a franchise-record 253 yards, the seventh-most in NFL history, in October. That earned him a spot in the starting lineup and the Cowboys soon surged to first place in the NFC East.
In the first quarter of a showdown with the Giants for that spot atop the division, Murray was pulled down at the end of an 8-yard gain and got his right ankle pinned awkwardly to the turf. It was diagnosed as a fractured ankle and a high ankle sprain.
Perhaps the best evidence of Murray’s importance to the club was the way his teammates responded, with defensive stars DeMarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff, Bradie James and Terence Newman walking across the field to check on him.
As trainers helped Murray to the sideline, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett went out and walked about the last 15 yards with them.
With 25 yards in this game, Murray has 899 for the season. That means Dallas likely will remain without a 1,000-yard rusher in the full seasons since Tony Romo became the starting quarterback.
Felix Jones is the only healthy running back on the roster. Third-stringer Phillip Tanner went on injured reserve Friday.
Also hurt Sunday for the Cowboys were center Phil Costa (concussion) and safety Barry Church (shoulder). For the Giants, it was linebacker Travis Beckum (chest).