The Dallas Cowboys are coming off of their second loss in a row, this one an overtime defeat against the Las Vegas Raiders on Thanksgiving Day. It isn’t hyperbole to say that morale is as low as it has been all season around America’s Team.
If there is a shred of optimism right now, it is regarding the players who are likely going to return (or at least could return) next Thursday night against the New Orleans Saints. The team’s second Thursday game in a row looks like a prime opportunity for Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and DeMarcus Lawrence to re-enter the fold.
Gravity teaches us though that what must up must come down and things are looking a little bit down for running back Ezekiel Elliott. Mike McCarthy said on Friday that they are going to look at ways to minimize his workload as we enter December.
Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy on RB Ezekiel Elliott (knee): "I am concerned because he's a warrior. He was fighting to get back in there" Thursday. "Zeke's running style is ferocious." Inflicts punishment but also absorbs some. Team needs to get in front of lingering issue somehow.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) November 26, 2021
This statement felt like one that would precede Elliott being placed on injured reserve which would take him out for three weeks at minimum. Since this has been the rule related to IR we have seen many NFL teams utilize it - including the Cowboys - for short-term things like this.
A report surfaced on Friday afternoon though that noted Elliott isn’t necessarily going to injured reserve for the time being, but that he might not play next Thursday night against the Saints. If Elliott does not play the absence would mark only the second throughout his career to this point.
Source: #Cowboys will consider providing running back Ezekiel Elliott time off to heal from the knee injury he’s been managing, including the possibility of holding him out of next Thursday night’s game in New Orleans, according to a source. IR not believed a consideration— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) November 26, 2021
Since the Cowboys are playing on back-to-back Thursdays we are on a normal week’s routine, just on different days of the week. Mike McCarthy will speak for the first time on Sunday (what will be “Wednesday” to the Cowboys) and will likely address this then.
Of course this is a Cowboys team that has been rather mysterious with injury-related news and notes all season long as they expressed tons of confidence publicly that Dak Prescott (Minnesota), Tyron Smith (Kansas City), and CeeDee Lamb (Las Vegas) would play in certain games when they wound up not suiting up. The team believes that this provides some sort of advantage so perhaps they will try to ride that mentality entering next week’s game.