Last Sunday, Dallas Cowboys RB1 Ezekiel Elliott took a serious hit to his right knee during the third quarter. As he made a 14-yard gain, Detroit Lions safety Deshon Elliott’s helmet collided directly with the running back’s knee. It was one of the first times we had seen the Cowboys RB down on the ground for a while after a play.
While it was clear that he was in pain, Elliott finished the game incredibly strong with a hurdle move, two touchdowns, and 57 yards on 15 carries.
Throughout the lead-up to today’s Week 8 game against the Chicago Bears, there were conflicting reports about whether Elliott would play or not. In press conferences this week, the RB1 made it seem like he was doing everything he could to play and just said the knee was “a little stiff.”
However, Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported on Wednesday that the team was already ruling him out for Sunday and stated that the running back had a Grade 2 MCL sprain as well as a deep thigh bruise.
After missing Wednesday and Thursday’s practices and not participating in Friday’s walkthrough, Elliott was listed as “doubtful” on the Cowboys’ injury report before Sunday. However, just a few hours before kickoff, ESPN’s Todd Archer tweeted that the 27-year-old will indeed miss today’s game against the Bears.
This marks just the second game in his career (he’s on his seventh this season) that Elliott will be listed as inactive for a game. Remember that Elliott played most of last year with a partial PCL tear that wasn’t revealed until after the season was over.
Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott will miss just the second game of his career due to Grade 2 MCL sprain in his right knee
The theory behind Elliott missing this game is that the running back will get a large slate of rest before the Cowboys’ next big test on the road against the Green Bay Packers in Week 10 because Dallas is on the bye next week.
This also marks just the second time RB2 Tony Pollard will get the lead running back slot in his four years with Dallas. The last time was in 2020 against the San Francisco 49ers. Pollard scored a 40-yard touchdown in that contest.
When asked about taking over for Elliott, Pollard had a clever response of “if they call it, I’m a haul it,” implying he’s more than ready for this opportunity to prove his worth as an RB1.
Dallas also added reinforcements to help Pollard and the run game succeed. The team added rookie RB Malik Davis and RB Qadree Ollison to the 53-man roster. Davis participated in two games with special teams earlier this season and Ollison had 158 yards and five touchdowns for the Falcons over the last two seasons (19 games).
For what it’s worth, eternal optimist Jerry Jones isn’t worried about the situation. He has all the faith in Tony Pollard. Here’s what the Cowboys owner told 105.3 The Fan on Friday:
“I think he’ll do outstanding and I’m anxious to see. My vision of Pollard is that he can run all day. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him get tired. So he’s got durability in terms of his ability to carry that load.”
This extended rest should help Elliott come back stronger and hopefully isn’t too much of a hindrance to the Dallas offense.
**Other Inactives Include: FS Malik Hooker, WR Noah Brown, DE Sam Williams, DT TRysten Hill, QB Will Grier, and LB Jabril Cox**