Cowboys Rumors: Ezekiel Elliott's Knee Injury to Be Managed Conservatively in Week 10

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVNovember 12, 2022

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 23: Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys runs with the ball against the Detroit Lions during the first half at AT&T Stadium on October 23, 2022 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly expected to take a "conservative" approach with running back Ezekiel Elliott and his knee injury entering Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers.

According to ESPN's Ed Werder, the Cowboys plan to evaluate Elliott during pregame warm-ups Sunday before making a final decision regarding whether he will play.

Werder added that the Cowboys will likely make a conservative decision because of "long-term considerations" regarding Elliott's health.

Elliott sat out the Cowboys' Week 8 win over the Chicago Bears, and Dallas was then on the bye in Week 9. If Elliott does not play Sunday, it will mark the first time in his NFL career that he has missed consecutive games because of injury.

While Elliott was once one of the best and most explosive running backs in the NFL, that hasn't necessarily been the case in recent years.

After Dallas selected him with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, Zeke earned three Pro Bowl nods and one first-team All-Pro selection in his first four seasons.

He rushed for at least 1,300 yards in three of those seasons and reached the double-digit touchdown mark twice.

Elliott has been far less effective over the past three seasons, averaging a career-low 4.0 yards per carry in 2020, followed by 4.2 last season and 4.1 so far this season.

Zeke did score 12 total touchdowns last season and reached the 1,000-yard rushing mark, but just barely at 1,002 yards in 17 games.

In seven games this season, Elliott has rushed for 443 yards and four touchdowns on 109 carries, while also catching six passes for 32 yards.

Over the past two seasons especially, fans and media members have called for the Cowboys to utilize Tony Pollard more out of the backfield and perhaps lessen Elliott's role.

Despite not starting any games last season, Pollard totaled 1,056 yards and two touchdowns from scrimmage. He was also one of the most efficient runners in the NFL with an average of 5.5 yards per carry.

Pollard has improved even more this season, rushing for 506 yards and five touchdowns, while averaging a career-high 6.2 yards per tote. He has also been Dallas' preferred receiving option out of the backfield with 12 grabs for 121 yards.

With Elliott out against Chicago, Pollard stepped up and proved he was capable of being a feature back, rushing for 131 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries.

If the Cowboys aren't sure Elliott is completely healthy, Pollard's performance two weeks ago likely gave them the confidence needed to sit him again and hand the reins over to Pollard against the Packers.