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Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott had zero 100-yard plus games in the final 13 games of the season, rushing for just 31 yards in Dallas’ 23-17 loss to the 49ers in the NFC Wild Card Sunday.
The 26-year-old former All-Pro revealed after the game that he was playing through a partially torn PCL in his right knee. Elliott suffered the injury back in Week 4 against the Panthers on Oct. 3.
“I just partially tore my PCL this year,” Elliott said, via The Dallas Morning News. “It was an injury that wasn’t going to get worse, but it was just going to take time. … I was just doing my job. I was going out there and doing what I needed to do for my team. I feel like everyone else in that locker room would have done the same.”
Elliott said the injury will not require surgery in the offseason.
Elliott had back-to-back 100-yard plus performances in Week 4 and 5, before hitting a wall in Week 6. It was the poorest stretch of his career from then on, as his usage took a dip. Elliott received a career-low 237 carries on the season and had zero games with 20 or more touches after Week 5. His highest rushing output after Week 5 came in Week 18 against the Eagles, when he ran for 87 yards on 18 carries.
“It was hard,” Elliott said. “It’s never fun being banged up. But it’s my job to make sure I get my body right and be ready for this team, for the fan base and for the coaches. It’s hard, but that’s my job.”
Tony Pollard took on a bigger role in the backfield, rushing for a career-high 719 yards on a healthy 5.5 yards per carry. Knowing that Elliott was hampered by the injury, Dallas apparently didn’t feel the need to include Pollard in the offense against San Francisco.
Pollard received just four carries for 14 yards. He added two catches for 12 yards.
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