Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch suffered a broken collarbone in Sunday’s loss to the Rams (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). The Cowboys will place LVE on IR, though he’ll be able to return after 6-8 weeks.
Vander Esch went down in the first quarter of Sunday’s game, after notching three stops to open up the 2020 season. This is, unfortunately, familiar territory for the third-year ‘backer. Last year, a neck injury sidelined Vander Esch for seven games.
The Cowboys were – and still are – banking on big plays from Vander Esch, who earned a Pro Bowl nod as a rookie. In 2018, the Boise State product racked up 140 tackles and two interceptions. This year, new Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy planned to have the 24-year-old manage the defense from the inside of the linebacker formation. Now, Joe Thomas figures to step into his ILB role, with veteran Justin March serving as his primary backup.
Per the league’s modified IR rules, Vander Esch will be eligible to return after three weeks. However, his fractured collarbone will require a longer stint on the sidelines. It’s a tough break for the Cowboys, who have also placed veteran linebacker Sean Lee on IR.