The Dallas Cowboys may hold star running back Ezekiel Elliott out for their Thursday road game against the New Orleans Saints to allow him time to recover from the knee injury he has been playing through.
Ed Werder of ESPN provided the news:
Ed Werder @WerderEdESPN
Source: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Cowboys?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Cowboys</a> 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
Even though the Cowboys signed Elliott to a six-year contract extension in 2019, this is an important season for the three-time Pro Bowler. He is coming off the worst year of his career with 979 rushing yards, 4.0 yards per carry and eight total touchdowns in 15 starts.
Some of Elliott's struggles could be blamed on not having Dak Prescott for the final 11 games of the year because of an injury suffered by the Cowboys quarterback. The lack of a consistent passing game without Prescott allowed opposing defenses to zero in on stopping Elliott.
Tony Pollard did emerge as a key piece for head coach Mike McCarthy's offense. The second-year back averaged 4.9 yards per touch and scored five total touchdowns on 129 touches in 2020.
Elliott remains the lead back for the Cowboys this season. He's having a very good year with 720 rushing yards on 160 carries through 11 games. Pollard has been fantastic with 531 yards on just 100 carries.
Elliott is still a driving force for Dallas at his best, but the offensive nucleus is so much stronger now than when he first entered the NFL. The 26-year-old has been incredibly durable through his first five seasons, averaging 283 carries per year since the start of 2016.
If Elliott is out, Pollard will move into the role as Dallas' lead running back, with Corey Clement serving as the backup.