Earlier this week, head coach Mike McCarthy responded to Ezekiel Elliott popping up on the practice report as limited with a calf injury by stating that he didn't expect the star running back to do much by way of practicing on Thursday or Friday. Thursday afternoon Elliott confirmed his calf was indeed bothering him coming out of Tuesday night's matchup with the Ravens.
"I don't remember exactly where I hurt it," Elliott said. "It's more of a contusion than a muscle strain. It's like a big bruise."
With an abnormally short week leading into the approaching game against the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cowboys having fallen to 3-9 and two games back of first place in the NFC East with four games to play, it wouldn't be crazy to assume any injury might be enough to sideline Elliott on Sunday. But he put that matter to rest on Thursday.
"I'm sure it's going to be sore during the game, but it's Week 13, everyone's going to be sore," Elliott said. "I don't think it will limit me much at all. It might be a little tender."
Elliott managed 77 yards on 18 carries against the Ravens. His best efforts couldn't seem to counter the way Baltimore's rush defense mostly dominated the Cowboys' beleaguered offensive line. Tony Pollard carried the ball eight times for 22 yards.
Elliott's production this season has been disappointing, but his presence on the field has been one of the very few constants in the Cowboys' offense all year. He explained Thursday that as long as the playoffs are a possibility, it would take a lot to get him out of the lineup.
"Just because we're not out of it," Elliott said about playing through pain. "We're not out of it at all. Look at what this team has gone through this season, losing so many key players. And just for my brothers. That's why I go out there and play, for my brothers and my teammates."
Elliott has yet to record over 100 yards in a game this season. Cincinannti has given up the fourth most rushing yards in the NFL all year. Only the Cowboys, Jaguars, and Texans have allowed more yards on the ground.