Dallas Cowboys Injury Update: Likely Season-Ending Injuries for Leighton Vander Esch and C.J. Goodwin

The Dallas Cowboys are likely without Leighton Vander Esch and C.J. Goodwin this season. How will this impact the team down the stretch?

The Dallas Cowboys are likely without Leighton Vander Esch and officially without C.J. Goodwin for the rest of the season.

According to a report by the Dallas Morning News, linebacker Vander Each “most likely” won’t return this season and cornerback Goodwin will undergo season-ending surgery.

What Happened to Leighton Vander Esch?

Vander Esch was placed on injured reserve after sustaining a neck strain in Week 5 against the San Francisco 49ers.

Vander Esch collided with Micah Parsons during the game and immediately left the field and went to the locker room for further evaluation.

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Although he was estimated to miss four to six weeks, that timeline is off the table now.

According to the report, there has yet to be a definitive decision on whether Vander Esch will need a second surgery.

The linebacker has a history of neck injuries dating back to his time at Boise State University. Vander Esch missed seven games in 2016 with a pinched nerve in his neck, seven games in 2019 for neck surgery, and three games last season with a neck stinger.

Because of his history, he wears a neck brace when playing to act as a stabilizer and protect his neck from further injury.

Before his injury, Vander Esch was ranked second on the team for combined total tackles with 30, just behind Damone Clark.

Jayon Kearse has become the team’s helmet communicator in his absence to make the defensive play calls.

Clark, Micah Parsons, Markquese Bell, and Rashaan Evans have all taken split roles since Vander Esch’s injury occurred. The team will have decisions to make, with Evans having been elevated from the practice squad three times now as well.

What Happened to C.J. Goodwin?

Goodwin was also injured in Week 5 and tore his pectoral during the game. He was placed on injured reserve around the same time as Vander Esch.

Although there was some optimism for his return later in the season, that is off the table.

The eight-year veteran has 41 tackles and a forced fumble so far in his career.

This is a massive blow for the special teams unit since Goodwin brings a veteran presence to the locker room to his teammates. Goodwin is a special teams ace, and in his absence, John Fassel has been relying on the young talent in the room to fill the void without him on the field.

Since his injury occurred, players like Jalen Tolbert and Sam Williams have seen more attention on special teams in the gunner position.

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