Source: Saints running back Marcus Murphy might miss multiple games with ankle injury _lowres

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Saints Marcus Murphy returns a kickoff during the fourth quarter Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. He fumbled, but the ball was recovered by New Orleans Saints wide receiver Willie Snead (83) to set up the game-winning field goal by New Orleans Saints kicker Kai Forbath (5) with no time left. The Saints won 52-49.

Rookie running back Marcus Murphy might miss multiple weeks after suffering a high ankle sprain against Tampa Bay, according to a source.

Murphy injured the ankle in the first half and tried to return for the second half against the Buccaneers, but he was ushered back into the locker room by trainers.

High ankle sprains have a tendency to linger, so the Saints could decide to place the rookie on injured reserve with three weeks left to go in the season.

Murphy, a seventh-round pick out of Missouri, was given the first carry of his young career against Tampa Bay, and it was stopped for no gain.

But Murphy was drafted primarily as a return man to start, and the Saints rookie averaged 9.3 yards on 28 returns, including a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown at Carolina.

Murphy also averaged 25 yards per return on 12 kickoff returns, but the Saints made a move at midseason to use C.J. Spiller as the primary kick return man.

If Murphy’s forced to miss several weeks, the Saints could use Spiller on kicks and free safety Jairus Byrd on punt returns, but New Orleans did try out a few options at return man, according to a source.