Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch Diagnosed With Worrisome Illness: Report

Leighton Vander Esch

Getty Leighton Vander Esch

The mysterious malady plaguing Dallas Cowboys starting linebacker Leighton Vander Esch is a mystery no more.

According to Brianna Dix of D210 Sports, Vander Esch is battling vertigo, an imbalance of the inner ear that can lead to dizziness, nausea and headaches, per WebMD.com.

Dix added that the 2018 first-round draft pick was expected to practice Friday — which he did — after missing Wednesday and Thursday’s sessions. He was a full participant in Dallas’ final practice prior to their Week 6 road game against the New York Jets.

Vander Esch reported to The Star on Wednesday feeling weary, prompting the Cowboys to hold him out of individual and team drills. His absence wasn’t related to a previous knee injury, and his illness was “not considered a long-term issue at the moment,” per ESPN’s Todd Archer.

Vander Esch avoided a questionable tag on the final injury report, meaning he’s all systems go for the interconference battle from MetLife Stadium, barring an unforeseen setback.

Established as a foundational piece in his NFL second season, “LVE” currently ranks second on the Cowboys in tackles (41), behind only fellow LB Jaylon Smith. He’s added two pass deflections, a forced fumble and half-sack through five games.

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Cowboys’ Latest Injury Report

Despite a litany of issues to a multitude of players, Dallas has only three questionable designations entering Sunday’s matchup: wide receiver Randall Cobb (back), and offensive tackles Tyron Smith (ankle) and La’el Collins (knee). They’re each game-time decisions, with Collins hovering near the doubtful side.

Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones expressed hope that either Smith, who’s recovering from a high-ankle sprain, or Collins, who injured his knee in Week 5, will play in New Jersey.

“It’s down to today and it even could be as late as tomorrow before we will know,” Jones said Friday, via Jon Machota of The Athletic. “I think it’s safe to say we’ll get half of them one way or another.”

Cameron Fleming would draw the start if Smith is declared inactive, while Brandon Knight is penciled in as the potential replacement for Collins.


Randall Cobb a Coin-Flip for Week 6

The Cowboys’ No. 3 WR left Wednesday’s practice early after tweaking his back while going to the ground during ball-security drills. He was a DNP (Did Not Practice) on Thursday and Friday, putting him in serious of doubt of being scratched against New York.

Head coach Jason Garrett didn’t appear overly optimistic about Cobb’s prospects. If the former Packers star is inactive, his pass-catching reps would be siphoned to Tavon Austin and Devin Smith, a 2015 second-round selection of the Jets who’s resurrecting his career in Big D.

A number of questions remain on both sides of the ball for the Cowboys as they attempt to snap a two-game losing skid. But on the other side of things, the Jets remain winless and have a date with the New England Patriots on the horizon, added even more pressure for them this week.

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL