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Dallas Cowboys' Leighton Vander Esch has successful surgery, could return in 6-8 weeks

Based on his estimated recovery time, Vander Esch could return to the Cowboys defense sometime in November.
Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (55) smiles as he celebrates a third down stop in the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Saints at AT&T Stadium.

BOISE, Idaho — Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch had successful surgery to repair a collarbone fracture he suffered in the 2020 season-opener against the Los Angeles Rams, according to his agent Ron Slavin.

Vander Esch was injured in the first quarter of the Cowboys game on Sept. 13. He played the first 23 defensive snaps and recorded three tackles before he was seen walking into the X-ray room on the television broadcast.

Vander Esch underwent surgery almost immediately. His recovery timeline is estimated at six to eight weeks. Solely based on that projection, it means Vander Esch could return to the Cowboys defense sometime in November.

In the meantime, the Cowboys placed him on Injured Reserve (IR), which means he will miss at least three games.

Dallas selected Vander Esch with the 19th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The former Boise State standout set a Cowboys rookie record with 140 tackles in his first season and was honored with a selection to the Pro Bowl.

His second year did not go as smoothly after a neck injury limited him to just nine games and the Cowboys eventually placed him on IR following their Week 11 game against the Lions.

Vander Esch proceeded to have offseason surgery to fix the problem. Prior to the season-opener this year, he told Dallas media that it's the best he's felt physically in a long time.

"Absolutely. There's no question about that," Vander Esch said. "I feel like the work put in in the offseason, and growing up as a man, and working out, training, doing all that has really panned out."

"I think God has given me another chance at playing football and making sure I heal up quick. It's an absolute blessing to be out here and I can't harp on that enough."