Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch Out 6-8 Weeks w/ Broken Collarbone

As we feared after last night’s loss to the Rams, Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch suffered a broken collarbone and is going to be out for 6-8 weeks following immediate surgery. With Sean Lee also out until Week 4, this leaves the Dallas Cowboys very shorthanded at the LB position.

Vander Esch went out early in the game after reportedly jogging to the locker room. After Leighton’s offseason neck surgery and ongoing concerns there, we hoped that he may just be taking a precautionary measure.

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Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch cleanly broke his collarbone, source said after his CT scan. He’ll have surgery and return to action in 6-8 weeks.

But not long after that report, it was confirmed that Vander Esch would not return to the game. At the very least, the injury won’t cost him the rest of the 2020 season.

However, Dallas is now going to have to figure some things out at linebacker. They currently have just Jaylon Smith, Joe Thomas, Justin March, and Francis Bernard (practice squad) healthy and ready to play.

Backup Luke Gifford has been banged up and was inactive last night, but hopefully he will be able to contribute next week against the Falcons.

With the new rules about injured reserve this season, Dallas will almost certainly place Leighton Vander Esch on IR. He would be eligible to return after three weeks but it sounds like Week 7 will be the earliest we can hope to see him back on the field.

Will the Cowboys be in the market for some linebacker help? Now that we’re into Week 2, they can sign a veteran and not have to guarantee his salary for the season.

With TE Blake Jarwin also going down last night and likely being lost for the year, Dallas should be busy this week retooling the roster.

What do you think?


Written by Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!


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  1. I didn’t expect LVE back this year His collarbone injury what the result of him trying to protect his neck , he should retire now, and take the other glass man Sean Lee with him.

  2. Well many uber talented players have seen careers ended by injury. Not exactly a revelation he has that type injury. He had history of neck problems dating back to college. Many teams shied away from drafting him in 2018 for that reason. Would be shocked to see him in pads again. Feel bad for him and us. Leaves a big void in our LB crew. So now J Smith is our best LB? Ouch

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