USATSI

The Dallas Cowboys are expected to have Ezekiel Elliott for Sunday’s showdown against the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers, but how many snaps Elliott will play will be determined. Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy revealed Friday the team has been managing Elliott’s practice reps this week after Elliott injured his hamstring in Sunday’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Elliott injured the hamstring on Philadelphia’s defensive touchdown in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss as he has been limited in practice all week.

McCarthy said the Cowboys are “being smart with” the injury as they prepare Elliott to suit up for Sunday’s game. The Cowboys are also preparing for No. 2 running back Tony Pollard to have more snaps if Elliott is limited. Pollard will get more work if Elliott doesn’t loosen up in pregame workouts or is limited in pregame. 

“It feels better today,” McCarthy said, via ESPN’s Todd Archer. “But our work (Saturday) will tell us a lot and we’ll take it all the way to the pregame workout (Sunday).”

Elliott has yet to record a 100-yard rushing game for the Cowboys this season and has been held without a rushing touchdown for the past three games — the first time he’s had a streak that long since the final four weeks of the 2018 season. The 3.9 yards per carry and 6.5 yards per reception are a career low. Elliott’s five fumbles also lead all running backs, two more than the second-highest back on the list (Melvin Gordon). 

Pollard has recorded 25 carries in the past three games, but the Cowboys offense is still struggling. Dallas has averaged 7.3 points and 250.3 yards per game in the three games Dak Prescott hasn’t started at quarterback, a product of having started three quarterbacks (with a fourth to come) and a rotating offensive line throughout the year. 

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