Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard was carted off the field during the second quarter of Sunday's NFC divisional round matchup against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium with an apparent ankle injury. The Fox Sports broadcast later reported Pollard would not return.
ESPN's Todd Archer reported after the game that Pollard suffered a fractured left fibula and will need to have surgery.
Pollard suffered the injury with less than two minutes remaining in the second quarter when his ankle got caught under a 49ers player making a tackle on him. He was slow to get up and was helped off the field and into the medical tent before being carted off.
Pollard rushed for 22 yards on six carries before exiting.
Losing the Pro Bowl running back is a tough blow for the Cowboys, who have one of the best backfield duos in the game in Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott.
Pollard put together the best season of his career in 2022, rushing for 1,007 yards and nine touchdowns in 16 games, averaging 5.2 yards per carry. He also caught 39 passes for 371 yards and three scores.
The 25-year-old was also a big factor in the team's 31-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the wild-card round last weekend, rushing for 77 yards on 15 carries and catching three passes for 12 yards.
Elliott takes on a much larger role in the backfield when Pollard is sidelined. During the regular season, he rushed for 876 yards and 12 scores in 15 games, and he also rushed for 27 yards on 13 carries against the Bucs last weekend.
In addition to Elliott, quarterback Dak Prescott also has to work some magic with both his legs and his arm. He rushed for 182 yards and one touchdown in 12 regular-season games, and rushed for 24 yards and one score against Tampa Bay.
Still, the loss of Pollard was significant, especially against a San Francisco defense that allowed just 77.7 rushing yards per game during the regular season, which ranked second in the NFL behind the Tennessee Titans.
It's unclear how long Pollard will be on the shelf, but he'll have plenty of time to recover ahead of training camp over the summer.
Had the Cowboys advanced to the NFC Championship Game next weekend, the loss of Pollard would have proved to be a significant challenge for Dallas to overcome.