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Mailbag: Handling Injured Players Differently?


I have noticed that players returning from injury seem to be off the game-day roster for longer than usual. The fact that Ezekiel Elliott has actually sat out injured at all is a departure from the standard he has set. Do you think this is a result of learning from past mistakes? Or possibly a less obvious benefit of having a really deep roster? – Wayne Watson/Pooler, GA

Nick: Let me reiterate that all injuries are different. Every single player that deals with an issue is different than the next guy. So if we're talking about Zeke, let's remember the same thing. Sure, he had a knee injury last season but again, they're all different. I would think he has learned from last season and realizing that limping around when you're not 100 percent can hurt the team as well. So there's some of that going on. I also think he understands this team can get by without him right now but he wants to be rested and ready for the December run and hopefully into the playoffs. As for other players, the NFL rules do allow more flexibility than before in terms of calling up a practice squad player for a game and then moving him down. So instead of playing someone at 80 percent, they can get a healthy replacement for a game or two. That is a major difference than the past.

Mickey: Nope, I think when a guy is ready to play he plays. There is no ulterior motive in this. Zeke had a sprained/hyperextended knee and after his workout on Thursday, he had some residual effects and why the Cowboys decided to hold him out another week. And just because a guy who has been out for an extended period of time returns to practice, doesn't mean they are ready to jump right in. Usually, it takes a two-week practice ramp up before the trainers will allow them to return. Rule of thumb is, don't want to release a guy to play and then he comes back to the trainers the next week. For the next example, see how many weeks it will take James Washington to return and then actually play in a game.

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