FRISCO, Texas – If the Cowboys had to play the Bears on Friday, it doesn't seem as if running back Ezekiel Elliott would be playing.
But according to head coach Mike McCarthy, if his starting running continues to make the same kind of progress by Sunday, there's a chance he could play against Chicago.
"The only chance (of Zeke playing Sunday) is if he keeps going at the rate he has been going," McCarthy said on Friday. "If he practices (Saturday), he has a chance to play."
Elliott suffered a knee injury against the Lions last week, but continued to play the entire game, scoring two touchdowns in the 24-6 win. Zeke didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday with the team, but has been on the field working with the athletic trainers.
"He started bouncing around yesterday and everybody was like 'slow down,'" McCarthy told the media. 'Because he's really making a lot of progress. He's a tremendous teammate. He doesn't miss anything. He's definitely a warrior."
It's also true, however, that the Cowboys have a bye week in Week 9, and owner and general manager Jerry Jones believes this would give the team a perfect chance to make sure Elliott is 100% healthy for the second half of the season.
"Yea, for sure, and it has everything to do with how we're everything this weekend with this bye coming up," Jones told 105.3 FM the Fan of potentially sitting Elliott in Week 8. "I'm not so sure we would've done it this way had we not had the bye. This just gives too good of an opportunity, and we'll see how he responds as the week goes along, that if we don't use Zeke - to get him in top shape."
Elliott has only missed one game in his career due to injury when a knee setback sidelined him for a 2020 game with the 49ers. Tony Pollard replaced him that day and had over 120 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns.
Pollard is expected to start if Zeke doesn't play, while rookie Malik Davis should be moved up from the practice squad. The Cowboys also have Qadree Ollison on the practice squad as well if they needed a third back for the game.