This post contains affiliate links. “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”
FRISCO, Texas – Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott does not want to take a game free despite a bruised right knee.
“No one came to me and asked me to rest,” Elliott said Sunday as the Cowboys opened up for preparations for Thursday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.
If they do, Elliott said he would listen.
“I just have to go with what they think is best for the team,” he said.
Elliott said he has handled the injury since hitting his knee in the team’s victory on Oct. 3 against the Carolina Panthers.
A day after the Thanksgiving Day loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, coach Mike McCarthy expressed concern about Elliott’s health after the fullback had just 25 yards on nine carries. Elliott has not topped 51 yards in his last four games, the lowest result of his career.
“It’s that time of year,” McCarthy said. “Zeke’s running style is fierce. He gives a thump and he takes some punches. We have to evaluate that, and this week we will see what the preparation looks like for him.”
A source told ESPN that the Cowboys will consider giving Elliott time off to heal, including the possibility of keeping him out of Thursday’s game. The source does not believe placing Elliott on the injured reserve is a consideration at this time. That would require Elliott to miss at least three games.
The Cowboys have reduced Elliott’s snaps in the last four games to help deal the injury. He has played 164 of 280 offensive snaps (58.6%) after playing in 379 of 451 (84%) in the first seven games of the season.
Elliott has only missed one game in his career due to an injury (last December against the San Francisco 49ers, due to a sprain in the calf). He was kept out of the season finals in 2016 and ’18 because the Cowboys’ playoff position was set and he was suspended for six games in 2017.
“He’s the ultimate competitor,” right-back Zack Martin said. “We see it from day to day and I think everyone sees it. He takes great pride in being there for his teammates and doing everything he can in his power to help this team win. To me, he’s one of the best competitors I’ve been around, and he will continue to do so. “