Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch Updates Injury Status for Week 14 vs. Bears

Leighton Vander Esch

Getty Leighton Vander Esch

Leighton Vander Esch is playing it safe now with the hope he’s not sorry later.

The Dallas Cowboys‘ stud linebacker announced on his weekly radio show that he’s been ruled out for the team’s road game at Chicago on Thursday. Vander Esch will miss his third consecutive contest while nursing a worrisome neck stinger, originally sustained in Dallas’ Week 7 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

“I want to be able to play for 10 to 12 years. Not four,” he said Tuesday on 1310 The Ticket, via the Dallas Morning News.

Veteran Sean Lee will continue starting at weakside ‘backer, with reserve LB Joe Thomas also seeing extended snaps opposite Jaylon Smith. Lee and Smith combined for a whopping 26 tackles (15 solo) in last week’s loss to the Buffalo Bills.

While owner Jerry Jones hasn’t provided much on LVE, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was a little more forthcoming, telling reporters last Tuesday that although there are no major developments to share, the club is confident that Vander Esch, having avoided surgery, will return following some R&R — rest and rehab.

Vander Esch made 72 tackles and notched three pass deflections as a sophomore, before suffering the stinger.

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Cowboys RB Sits Out Practice Due to Mysterious Injury

This isn’t going to quiet the qualms surrounding the struggling ground game. Cowboys running back Tony Pollard missed Tuesday’s practice with what the team termed an ankle injury. It’s unclear when Pollard was hurt as he wasn’t listed on Monday’s practice report; he got in a full session.’s blurb on Pollard stated that he suffered a knee injury while running a route in last week’s loss to the Buffalo Bills. It’s possible his malady is related to the knee and ankle injuries he picked up in Week 5. Garrett failed to mention Pollard in his pre-practice press conference.

The team’s fourth-round draft pick has been a regular-season afterthought in an offense dominated by Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, converting 58 carries into 264 yards and a touchdown across 12 appearances. He’s added 12 receptions for 90 yards and a TD.

Pollard, however, was sensational during the preseason, taking hold of the RB1 job while Elliott campaigned for a new contract in Mexico. He rushed for 84 yards and a score on just 15 attempts, averaging a sterling 5.6 yards per carry and prompting the now-infamous “Zeke who?” quip from Jerry Jones.

READ NEXT: Amari Cooper Announces Decision on Re-Signing with Cowboys

Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL

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