A year ago, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in Week 4 and played rest of the season with the injury. He played all 18 games, including the playoff loss and rushed for over 1,000 yards for the fourth time in six seasons.
The situation could be different in 2022.
Per sources, Elliot suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his right knee and a painful deep thigh bruise in the second quarter of Sunday’s 24-6 victory against the Detroit Lions.
A magnetic resonance imaging exam on Monday revealed a sprained knee, per coach Mike McCarthy, who wouldn’t predict Elliott’s availability for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.
McCarthy said Elliott would be held out of practice on Wednesday and work exclusively with the rehab group.
Elliott did no rehab during the media portion of practice Wednesday.
When speaking to the media in the locker room, Elliott said he was taking it day by day.
“Trying to get stiffness out and get with training staff and seeing where it can get. I don’t know right now,” Elliott said when asked about the Bears game. “We still have a lot of time before Sunday. Just focused on getting this knee as healthy as I can.”
According to a source, Elliott is expected to miss the Bears game and return after next week’s bye, giving him three weeks of rest and recovery for when the Cowboys resume play Oct. 13 at the Green Bay Packers.
“It’s MCL or something,” Elliott said. “Hell, I ain’t no doctor.”
Elliott said it all depends on how he feels by the end of the week.
“I think that is a consideration,” Elliott said. “But it just depends on how I feel by the end of the week going into the game.”
Elliott said the in final decision will made with a group effort with the doctors, trainers and coaching staff.
“I think it will be everyone having their input,” Elliott said. “I think we’ll come together at the end of the week and decide what we’re going to do.”
Elliott’s toughness and history of playing through injuries are well documented.
And he plans to do all he can to play against the Bears.
“I think it’s mentality,” said Elliott, who has just missed one game in his career due to injury. “I believe my team needs me out there. I believe that pain is temporary and I need to be out there with my guys. That’s the priority. I think it’s just from heart and just how much I care for this team, how much I care for this organization. I think it’s my job to be out there, to be available.
“If I can be out there, why not? I’m not going to take a game off because I don’t feel 100 percent. I think that’s soft.”
When Elliott suffered the injury in the second quarter against the Lions, most thought the worst as his leg bent backwards following a seemingly debilitating hit.
It would have been much worse if Elliott’s foot stayed planted in the ground, per a source with knowledge of the injury.
Elliott returned to the game, finishing with 57 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns.
Elliott had 29 yards and both touchdowns in the second half after the injury.
Tony Pollard, who has shared running back duties with Elliott this season, would expect to get most of the carries on Sunday. He has 65 carries for 375 yards and two touchdowns this season.
Rookie undrafted free agent Malik Davis is only other running back on the roster. If Elliott doesn’t play against the Bears, the Cowboys might have to make a move to add depth to the position.
This story was originally published October 26, 2022 1:35 PM.