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The Morning Hustle

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Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott played most of 2021 season with torn PCL, will not require offseason surgery

Written by on January 16, 2022

ARLINGTON, Texas — Ezekiel Elliott dropped a bombshell of a revelation moments after seeing his Dallas Cowboys bounced from the NFL playoffs at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers. The two-time rushing champ simply couldn’t get into a groove on Super Wild Card Weekend, something he’s struggled to do for months now thanks to his struggles with a knee injury the team consistently downplayed, and it turns out the situation was always worse than they let on. 

Elliott told media on Sunday evening that he’s been playing with a partially torn PCL in his knee, which explains why the explosiveness seen early in the season had mostly disappeared — the Pro Bowl running back also strapping on a knee brace in December. As far as undergoing any potential offseason surgery, Elliott says it’s not needed, considering the team won’t take another snap until training camp in mid- to late-July. 

“It was hard,” said Elliott. “It’s never fun being banged up. But it’s my job to make sure I get my body right and be ready for this team, for the fanbase and for the coaches. It’s hard, but that’s my job. 

“I won’t need a procedure. I just partially tore my PCL this year. It was an injury that wasn’t going to get worse, but it was just going to take time. I was just doing my job in playing through the injury. 

“I was going out there and doing what I needed to do for my team. I feel like everyone else in that locker room would have done the same.”

This raises so many questions, including why the Cowboys opted to not rest Elliott when they had the chance to do so, and prior to that backup running back Tony Pollard began battling a foot injury that cost him time and removed the ability to pull Elliott from the gameplan. Pollard was rested in the Week 18 win over the Philadelphia Eagles but didn’t entirely look like himself as well against the 49ers, which might explain why he logged an uncharacteristic four handoffs for 14 total yards in an all-important playoff game. 

And as for being thrust into the offseason prematurely due to a variety of listless errors, mostly from the again uneven offense, a visibly emotional Elliott struggled to string together words to express just how disappointed he truly is.

“Yeah, it’s disappointing,” he said. “This is the best team I’ve been on. It is disappointing. We hurt. It hurts all of us. We’re all hurting.

“We just have to rally around each other and start thinking about next year.”

But, for Elliott, logging another 1,000-yard season means nothing when it all ended, and in the fashion in which it did. 

“I think I say it every year at the beginning of the year that if we go make sure that we go do our jobs, be unselfish, do what we need to do to help this team win,” he said. “I think at the end of the season the accolades will work themselves out. That’s not why we play. We don’t play for individual accolades. 

“We play for the team and I think I’d rather have a Super Bowl than a thousand-yard season — every day.”