FRISCO, Texas -- Leighton Vander Esch's season is coming to an end with a game to play as the Dallas Cowboys linebacker is set to undergo a minimally invasive procedure on his neck in the next few weeks.
The expectation is Vander Esch will be ready for the start of the offseason program in some capacity.
"He's a good football player, thought he continued to grow from his experience last year," coach Jason Garrett said of Vander Esch at his news conference on Monday. "...Unfortunately, he hasn't played as much as we would've liked and been dealing with this neck injury and we're going to do the right thing by him. This is the right thing for his career. We do believe he will be back healthy and ready to play at a very high level."
Garrett also said guard Xavier Su'a-Filo is having season-ending surgery for a broken bone in his leg.
Vander Esch has missed the past five games with a nerve issue initially suffered in the Oct. 20 win against the Philadelphia Eagles. He returned to play in two games but he has not played since undergoing more testing and scans before the Nov. 24 game against the New England Patriots.
He was supposed to undergo more testing a few weeks ago but since he was still having symptoms, those scans were pushed back. The belief is the procedure will alleviate any future issues regarding his neck.
Vander Esch was credited with 86 tackles in nine games and had a half sack, two tackles for loss, three quarterback pressures, a forced fumble and three pass deflections. As a first-round pick in 2018, the coaches credited him with 176 tackles in 16 games, which led the team, and he was named to the Pro Bowl and was a second-team All Pro.