Friday, June 9, 2023

Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott says injured knee is feeling better, doesn’t plan on sitting out games to let it heal

© Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is not healthy. That much has been obvious to anyone who has watched Cowboys games over the last month or so, and both Elliott and the Cowboys organization have admitted he’s not operating at 100%. 

Elliott played at least 70% of the team’s snaps in six of its first seven games (the lone exception was a blowout win over the Giants where he played 60% of the snaps), but has yet to reach that mark in any game since Week 9. Since the team returned from its Week 7 bye, Elliott is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry, and he has only two runs of 10 yards or more during that time. 

Elliott, though, says he is feeling better. 

“It feels good,” Elliott said of the knee that has been bothering him since he injured it back in Week 4, per Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News. “I’m getting my strength back. A lot of the stiffness” is gone. When asked if he would be sitting out any games to let the knee heal, Elliott replied, “You’re going to have to drag me off of the field.” 

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He noted that after having an MRI last week, the belief is that his knee will be better in three our four weeks. How that is possible when he will be playing on the injured knee in the meantime, Elliott did not say. He did state that he has not had surgery on the knee, nor is offseason surgery under consideration at the moment. 

There was talk in recent weeks of the Cowboys shutting Elliott down to let his balky knee heal and turning the backfield over to Tony Pollard in the meantime, but it’s worth noting that Pollard did not practice on Wednesday due to a foot injury. According to beat reporters on scene, Elliott did more work in the open portion of practice than did Pollard as the Cowboys prepare for their huge NFC East game against Washington. In the event that both players are out or limited, third-string running back Corey Clement would presumably be called upon, while the Cowboys could also turn to the package of plays they have where CeeDee Lamb lines up in the backfield.

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