Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch fractures his collarbone; TE Blake Jarwin, OL Cam Erving Comes Out With Knee Injuries

INGLEWOOD, Calif .– Leighton Vander Esch was quickly off the field Sunday night during the break between the first and second quarters. A member of the medical staff ran alongside him. Another followed closely behind.

Minutes later, the Cowboys linebacker was diagnosed with a broken collarbone.

It was just the beginning.

An injury attack slammed Dallas in the first half of its 20-17 loss to the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. The Cowboys are concerned that tight end Blake Jarwin tore his right ACL, a source said. He will undergo further testing on Monday to learn more about the injury, but the team are confident he will miss the remainder of the 2020 season.

Jarwin’s likely loss is a brutal blow.

The 26-year-old impressed during training camp and was set to play a big role in 2020 before the non-contact injury. It offers a vertical dimension of the Cowboys main staff group that the club lacked last year with Jason Witten.

Dalton Schultz replaced him as the main tight end. While he’s a solid option online, he’s not as explosive a receiver as Jarwin, who caught 31 of 41 passes for 365 yards and three touchdowns last season. Undrafted rookie tight end Sean McKeon, inactive Sunday, could be in uniform to move forward.

Also in the second quarter, reserve tackle Cam Erving injured his left knee while protecting the field. A source said Erving was diagnosed with a sprained MCL. It will still be evaluated on Monday.

“It’s always hard to see guys get injured,” said center Joe Looney. “I got into the league injured my rookie year, and you never want to see a guy fall. You know, it’s gonna take a whole team. That’s why we have a team. It takes teamwork. We still have that next-player mentality in the NFL. We need everyone on the team to step in and contribute.

Usually, a broken collarbone requires surgery and has a four to six week recovery schedule. The Cowboys have yet to provide details, but Vander Esch’s injury is unlikely to end the season, a source said. Vander Esch is still likely to be placed in the casualty reserve this week; under the new rules, a player is eligible to be activated from IR as early as 21 days after placement.

The 2018 first-round pick has been assiduously reshaping this offseason after neck surgery in January. He missed seven games in 2019 with a bulging disc. The severity was made worse due to congenital spinal stenosis, a condition that involves narrowing of the spine. He wore extra padding on Sunday to prevent a similar injury to the area.

Vander Esch has rebounded this summer to have a stellar training camp, claiming greater leadership in defense as linebacker Mike.

“I know what it feels like to be injured, to be injured,” said linebacker Jaylon Smith. “I don’t wish this on anyone. So it’s necessarily hard. But I know Leighton is a strong guy and a good support system. He will come back in force.

Joe Thomas replaced Vander Esch.

Smith, the weak side linebacker, took over by wearing a speakerphone in the helmet to relay play calls from defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to the players before each snap.

Vander Esch has overcome an injury this year.

It will start to work now on another.

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