The Dallas Cowboys lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday afternoon and one of the more concerning things that happened was that linebacker Leighton Vander Esch exited with what appeared to be a neck injury.
Vander Esch has dealt with neck issues before throughout his NFL career and they are obviously very serious. His health remains the most important thing, but in terms of the football situation, the Cowboys sorely missed him when he was out. A serious injury to him threatens to derail what has been a very good defense for most of the season.
It was reported on Monday that Vander Esch’s MRI revealed a right shoulder stinger and not an injury to his neck. This is very good news for Vander Esch and the Cowboys.
The MRI on #Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch actually revealed a right shoulder stinger, not a neck injury, source said. While he did have a neck issue a years ago, the MRI and CT scan cleared it and this issue is unrelated. He’s still sore and may miss time, but overall good news— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 19, 2022
This is a very positive development for the Cowboys again given that Vander Esch has a critical role within the heart of the team’s defense. While he will likely miss some time as Ian Rapoport notes, the reality of the final three games of the regular season for the Cowboys is that they are of a bit less significance after the loss. Dallas has already clinched a playoff berth and is effectively locked into the top wildcard spot. Anything can, of course, happen between now and the regular season ending, but the overwhelming likelihood is that Dallas will be the five seed.
As this is the case it provides an opportunity for the Cowboys to rest players like Vander Esch or others who they feel may need it in preparation for the playoffs.