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Cowboys Coach Mike McCarthy Reveals 'Concern' About 'Warrior' RB Ezekiel Elliott

"Zeke’s running style is ferocious,'' McCarthy says with admiration, and that's good. But ...

FRISCO - A respectful coach Mike McCarthy on Friday revealed "concern'' for Dallas Cowboys standout running back Ezekiel Elliott, who this season has been nursing a knee injury that Elliott himself concedes might be impacting the Dallas offense.

“I am concerned because he’s a warrior,” McCarthy said regarding Elliott’s situation. “He was fighting to get back in there Thursday.''

Added Elliott after the Cowboys' 36-33 OT loss to the Raiders on Thanksgiving: "I feel alright but, (the game plan) probably was (impacted).''

"Feeling alright'' is a relative thing, and Dallas has already been trying to manage the situation. So he had nine carries against the Raiders. And in last week’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, he was limited to nine touches.

NFL Network is talking about Dallas “altering” his participation, but the Cowboys have already done that. It's why in this game, his backup,Tony Pollard took 10 carries for 36 yards while Elliott carried the ball nine times for 25 yards and a touchdown. Pollard also added four receptions for 32 yards, plus and a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Do the Cowboys "shut down'' Zeke? How much more "altering'' can there be between nine carries moves us pretty near ... zero.

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Part of the issue is the exact nature of the injury. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has termed it a "bone bruise,'' which sounds innocuous ... but a "bone bruise'' can actually be a fracture. Taking seven carries, say, next Thursday at New Orleans instead of, say, nine touches, is not going to cure a bone bruise.

Elliott wants to play. It's his job. And he's good at it. So that desire is a strength - but if it negatively impacts his health and the game plan, it can be a weakness.

 Zeke’s running style is ferocious,'' McCarthy said with admiration, and that's good. But his ferociousness is, too, a strength - and in a way, if he's limping around on the football field, a weakness.

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