USATSI

The Dallas Cowboys appear to be on the doorstep of getting a boost to their backfield. For the past two games, the club has been without one of their mainstays in the backfield, Ezekiel Elliott, due to a knee injury. He’s since participated in both of Dallas’ practices this week and told reporters on Thursday that he is trending in the right direction to officially make his return this Sunday when the 6-3 Cowboys visit the 8-1 Vikings in Minnesota. 

“I’m definitely very optimistic about this week,” Elliott said, via the Dallas Morning News. “Barring any setbacks the next couple of days, I’m feeling good. I feel as good as I’ve felt since the injury this early in a week. I think I’m in a good spot.”

Elliott added that he plans to have his knee “braced up” when he makes his return for the crucial NFC showdown. 

In the two games Elliott has been sidelined, the Cowboys have put up a 1-1 record and have averaged 38.5 points per game over that stretch, which included a 49-point output back in Week 8 against Chicago. 

As for how the Dallas running game has fared in his absence, Tony Pollard has taken the reins and started the past two games. In that time, he’s rushed for 246 yards on a 6.83 yards per carry average and four touchdowns. He’s also caught four of his seven targets for 29 yards. In Week 8 against the Bears, he had a career-high three rushing touchdowns while matching his career high for rushing yards with 131. The 115 yards Pollard put up last week against Green Bay was the second-highest total of his career thus far. 

Even when Elliott does return to the backfield and likely adopts the lion’s share of touches again, Pollard should still have a sizable role within the offense. 

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