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Cowboys’ Vander Esch Suffers High Ankle Sprain, Could Miss Multiple Weeks

The Dallas Cowboys haven’t gotten any luck on the injury front in 2020. It seems as if every week, win or lose, someone on the Cowboys roster has an ailment to deal with. Well, their Week 15 matchup with the San Francisco 49ers was no different as Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch left the game with an ankle injury.

The third-year pro self-diagnosed himself after the Cowboys win on Sunday. “It’s not broke,” Vander Esch said. “It’s definitely a high ankle. Just, hope it’s just a sprain. I’ll get an MRI tomorrow.”

Turns out that the man they call “The Wolf Hunter” was spot on with his analysis as an MRI on Monday confirmed it was indeed a high ankle sprain. Now, this puts the rest of the regular season in jeopardy for Vander Esch.

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Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch suffered a high ankle sprain in Sunday’s win over 49ers, source said. His status for this Sunday’s game against Eagles is in question. He’ll be monitored over course of week to see how right ankle responds to rest, rehab.

Cowboys Head Coach Mike McCarthy stated that Vander Esch was a long-shot to play this Sunday against the rival Philadelphia Eagles during a Monday press conference.

“I don’t see Leighton having a chance to maybe play this week,” McCarthy said. “Obviously we’ll get more into that diagnosis come Wednesday. But it’s maybe a couple-week injury.”

This is a continuation of a frustrating season for Vander Esch. In the Cowboys season opener against the Los Angeles Rams, he suffered a broken collarbone and went on injured reserve until Week 6 vs the Arizona Cardinals.

2020 isn’t Vander Esch’s first season on the injury report. In 2019, he missed seven games with a neck issue that required offseason surgery to repair. He claimed he felt great in the offseason, but unfortunately, it hasn’t stopped him from appearing on the injury report multiple times.

Vander Esch exploded onto the scene as a rookie in 2018 registering 140 tackles and receiving second-team All-Pro honors. However, the last two seasons have been miserable as far as his health seeing as he’s missed 11 games over that span.

Even with the Cowboys hanging on to slim playoff chances it may be wise to shut down Vander Esch for the remainder of the season considering his recent injury history.

What do you think?

Matthew Lenix

Written by Matthew Lenix

I write dope stuff about the Dallas Cowboys and what not.


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  1. In only his 3rd season, can we now assume LVE is injury prone and may never play a full season? I alway fear he is one big hit away from the IR or premature retirement. LVE has not regained his rookie form and J Smith is not good.

    LB is a position of need that needs to be addressed by the cowboys.

  2. Gary b, when I saw this, I thought about what you said about LVE being “one hit away”. Good call, on a bad situation, unfortunately for our team. Hate to say it, but I think he is injury prone. I also commented several times about definitely needing LB HELP. Our draft position is getting worse, but that means we are winning. It’s a double edged sword of sorts.

    We have to wait and see how the first round shakes out. BTW, just saw a new CBS mock with Wilson going number 2 to Jets. Of course these mocks are way early and team draft positions are fluid, as are the prospects themselves to some extent.

  3. VAM- That’s what makes the draft so interesting. So many variables to consider. I know Wilson stock looks like its ascending. Fields has had a few shaky games this short season. The thing about the draft is it’s full of surprises and teams don’t always do what you think they will. Difficult season to assess players with fewer games and several opting out.

  4. Gary B- Exactly how I see it. As much as everyone had high hopes for LVE after his rookie season, I pray that they don’t give him a big extension, they’ve already been burned by giving one to J.Smith and he is borderline unstartable. He gets like 7-8 tackles a game and they are all after a RB has gashed our defense for 10 yards, then some people think he’s good because he racks up tackles, they don’t look at the context. Anyway, I do think LVE can still be a playmaker, with the right players around him but like you said, he can’t stay healthy and imo, it’s not a Sean Lee thing either. Sean Lee had some really just bad luck with some of his injuries, with LVE, the whole neck issue/collarbone type injuries, I just can’t envision a long career for him. So as much as it pains me to say it, I’m actually just hoping that they don’t extend him. Just let another team take on that risk. The Cowboys have drafted pretty good on offense over the years but they’ve missed a lot on defense because it seems like Jerry and company like to take chances on guys that have slipped in the draft because of injury, like S.Lee, J.Smith, etc. I want to see them get away from that, they have to hit on some of these picks on defense, if they want to sniff a championship, they have to get this defense turned around while they still have a potentially great offense, mostly in it’s prime.

  5. Bill R- Solid post ! I absolutely agree with everything u said. LB is more of a need then people might think. That and DT need to be seriously addressed or teams will continue to run for 300 yds on us every game.

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