Leighton Vander Esch’s return to the field was short-lived.
The Dallas Cowboys linebacker left Sunday’s season opener against the Los Angeles Rams in the first half with a broken collarbone. The injury is not season-ending, but Vander Esch is expected to miss 6-8 weeks, per NFL Network.
#Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch cleanly broke his collarbone, source said after his CT scan. He’ll have surgery and return to action in 6-8 weeks.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 14, 2020
Even worse, later in the game the Cowboys lost promising tight end Blake Jarwin to what the team feared was a torn ACL, according to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News.
After evaluation, Cowboys fear that TE Blake Jarwin has suffered a torn ACL, source said. An MRI to reveal injury's full nature but the team's belief is Jarwin has been lost for season. Injured right knee in second quarter.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) September 14, 2020
Backup offensive lineman Cam Erving left the game with a knee injury, leaving the Cowboys thin on the offensive line.
Vander Esch coming off a neck injury
The broken collarbone is especially concerning for Vander Esch after a neck injury cost him seven games last season and required offseason surgery and rehab.
Vander Esch said in August that he was at full strength and wearing a new shoulder-pad setup to help with what he described as “shock.”
“I’m not worried about my neck anymore,” Vander Esch told reporters. “I don’t talk about it. It is what it is, and people can think what they want to think about it. But I’ve been training for four months hard and I’m already better than I was before I got hurt with that injury.
“It doesn’t affect me. I just don’t talk about it. It’s not worth wasting time about.”
The 24-year-old is entering his third NFL season after the Cowboys selected him in the first round of the 2018 draft. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie with 140 tackles. He tallied 72 tackles through nine games in 2019 before the neck injury ended his season.
Blake Jarwin goes down
Jarwin had 365 yards and three touchdowns in limited playing time last season but had the ability to break out in an exciting offense. If the initial diagnosis of a torn ACL is confirmed, the Cowboys will be down an important part of their passing game.
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