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The Dallas Cowboys lost Leighton Vander Esch during last month's loss against the rival San Francisco 49ers, as he suffered a neck injury after being pushed into the back leg of teammate Micah Parsons. He was initially placed on Injured Reserve, meaning that he would miss at least the next four to six weeks of action.
However, he's going to be missing more time than that. According to Cowboys team owner and general manager Jerry Jones, Vander Esch will be missing the remainder of the 2023 season.
"We had just completely left it up to how he was evolving, but of course it's such a very significant loss for us," Jones said. "[Vander Esch is] an integral part of that defense out there. We just wish him well, and just the nature of his potential injury here causes me to really think longer term and beyond what it means for next week or beyond what it means for next month. It has everything to do with what's best in his interest."
It's disheartening to acknowledge that this setback could potentially jeopardize Vander Esche's career, especially considering his history of neck injuries throughout his playing career. He missed half of the 2016 season while in college thanks to a pinched nerve in his neck, and would later miss seven games in 2019 and six more in 2020 with the Cowboys.