Ezekiel Elliott has been dealing with a nagging calf issue. He suffered it in Week 13 against the Baltimore Ravens, a game the Dallas Cowboys lost 34-17. On Wednesday, the two-time rushing champion missed practice because of the ailment.
He joined cornerbacks Rashard Robinson (knee) and Deante Burton (shoulder) as non-participants for the second straight practice on Thursday, according to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News. However, Elliott plans to work through the injury and be on the field when the Cowboys face the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday in Arlington.
“I think it might be something I might have to manage for the rest of the season,” Elliott told the media. “Every day is a little bit different, it’s just a little bit stiff and sore. Every day you just have to work through it, work through the stiffness, get all that inflammation out. Who knows how long I’ll be dealing with it, it just kind of sucks during the week trying to get it warm and ready for practice.”
Although Elliott didn't participate in any team activities he was seen on the side field trying to do everything he can to play in Week 15.
“Today I was just more with the bands. I was on the bands with Britt (Britt Brown, team's Associate Athletic Trainer). Just working through it, trying to get that range of motion, and trying to get that stiffness out of it.”
Elliott hasn't just had a very productive first five years of his career, he's also been an ironman. The three-time Pro Bowler has started all 69 games he's played in. The only time Elliott has missed action was a six-game suspension in 2017 and sitting out two season finales in 2016 and 2018 as the Cowboys prepared for the postseason.
The former fourth overall draft selection has seen his production take quite the dip in 2020. He's averaging career lows in yards per game (64.0) and yards per carry (3.9). A lot of that has been due to the injury bug that has decimated the Cowboy's three best offensive linemen. La'el Collins (hip) has been out all season, Tyron Smith (neck) had his season end in early October, and Zack Martin is currently on injured reserve with a calf injury himself, how ironic.
One would think with all those soldiers upfront unavailable that Elliott's overall rushing total would look putrid, but that's not the case. His 832 yards are eighth in the NFL and only 68 yards from fifth, a spot occupied by Ronald Jones II of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Elliott is also 168 yards away from his fourth 1,000-yard season in his first five years in the league, which would also be the three consecutive season he's accomplished that milestone.
The Cowboys are currently 4-9 and two games behind the first-place Washington Football Team in the NFC East with just three games left to play. However, Elliott still sees light out the end of the tunnel.
“We have three games,” Elliott said earlier this week. “We're still in it. We're not out of it. So these last three games are important. We want to win these three games so we can put ourselves in a position to win the division.”
It would be easy for the Cowboys to look ahead to next year with their current murky playoff chances. However, Elliott isn't concerned about 2021 at the moment, only ending the 2020 season on a high note.
“I'm a competitor over everything,” Elliott said, via the team's website. “I'm not really trying to relate this year to next year. Every time we go out there we go out there to win a football game. I just think it's important for this group of men to finish the season strong and do our best to win football games.”
The Cowboys have to win out to have any hopes of making the playoffs. Although their chances are slim one thing is for certain, Elliott will be on the field trying to do his part.