FRISCO, Texas – Ezekiel Elliott had more carries (322) than any NFL player during the regular season.
The way his body feels as the playoffs near, this might as well be the season opener.
"I feel great," Elliott said Thursday. "I feel like I haven't played a down of football this season."
With playoff home-field advantage already clinched, the Cowboys reduced Elliott's workload in the final two regular-season games. Darren McFadden had all nine carries in the fourth quarter of a 42-21 win over the Detroit Lions on Dec. 26. Elliott's 12 carries were a season low.
In the finale six days later, Elliott was in uniform but did not play. He would have needed 178 yards to break Eric Dickerson's 1983 rookie rushing record.
The Cowboys returned to practice Thursday during their playoff bye week and won't play until the divisional round on Sunday, Jan. 15.
The rookie NFL rushing title winner (1,631 yards) believes his extra rest is paying off.
"I felt really good out there at practice," Elliott said. "I feel like it's a whole new season, honestly. Really refreshed."