The Dallas Cowboys will consider providing running back Ezekiel Elliott some time off to heal from the knee injury he has been managing, including the possibility of holding him out of next Thursday night's game in New Orleans, a source told ESPN.
The source does not believe that placing Elliott on injured reserve is a consideration at this time.
Elliott has consistently downplayed the significance of his injury. Asked last week whether he had discussed taking time off with the coaches, Elliott said it wasn't necessary.
"It's football," he said. "You get hurt. You aren't going to be 100 percent. I'm tough. Play through it."
However, in a conference call Friday, coach Mike McCarthy admitted concern about Elliott.
"It's that time of year," McCarthy said. "Zeke's running style is ferocious. He gives a pounding, and he takes some hits. We need to evaluate that, and this week we'll see what the preparation looks like for him."
The Cowboys have lost three of their past four games, and Elliott's rushing total has declined each of the past four weeks -- from 51 to 41 to 32 to 25 yards against the Las Vegas Raiders.
After Thursday's 36-33 overtime loss to the Raiders, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Elliott has limitations and that the coaches went into the game seeking to establish the running game and planning 25 touches for Tony Pollard.
The Cowboys were averaging 152 rushing yards per game and nearly 5 yards per attempt through Week 8. That's down to 84.5 yards per game and 3.8 yards per rush over the past four contests.