Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is one of the most high-profile athletes to be diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
Unfortunately for the two-time NFL rushing champion, his recovery from the dangerous virus has been slow and frustrating. Elliott revealed just how frustrating it is for him in a recent Twitch stream.
Appearing on a stream with timthetatman, Ezekiel Elliott revealed that he isn't even able to work out due to potential complications from COVID-19. Earlier this week, Elliott stated that he might have gotten closer to working out if he had gotten tested more recently.
Fortunately, it appears that the worst is behind for the Dallas Cowboys feature back. He recently described his health as "good" and "normal" after dealing with a cough and shortness of breath.
“I would say I had maybe one or two days when I felt symptoms," Elliott said. "Even then, it wasn’t too bad. I had a cough and a little bit of shortness of breath. Now, I feel good. I feel normal.”
Elliott was one of five Dallas Cowboys players diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier this month. But Elliott was the first to have his diagnosis made public. Elliott and Broncos star pass rusher Von Miller are among the most high-profile players in the league to have come down with the virus.
It's been a roller coaster of a year for Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys. Less than a year ago there were legitimate worries that Elliott might not return over a contract dispute. But Dallas managed to reach a deal with Elliott just before the start of the 2019 regular season. He got a six-year, $90 million contract extension for his trouble.
However, the 2019 season was hardly what the Cowboys were expecting from their highly-paid running back. Despite playing all 16 games in a season for the first time, Elliott recorded career-lows with 84.8 yards per game, and with 18.8 carries per game.
The team as a whole enjoyed its best scoring output of the last five years thanks in no small part to Elliott, scoring 434 points - eighth most in franchise history. But the slightest dip in their defense and some closes losses cost America's Team a trip to the playoffs.
After going 8-8, the Cowboys fired longtime head coach Jason Garrett. Replacing him in 2020 will be Mike McCarthy, who led the Green Bay Packers to nine playoff trips in 12.5 seasons. He also led them to a world championship in Super Bowl XLV and has a 125-77-2 overall record.
Of course, the new regime in Dallas and Elliott's current illness are being overshadowed by another issue with the team: Dak Prescott's contract.
While the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback signed his franchise tag earlier this week, his long-term future with the team is unclear. Dak and the Cowboys have until mid-July to come to a contract extension, or he'll be a free agent in 2021.
And then there's the issue of what Dallas will do about their offensive line. Five-time Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick retired after a long battle with Guillain–Barré syndrome. Despite making offensive line acquisitions in free agency and the draft, it's a pretty big hole to fill.
But there can be no doubt that the coronavirus is the single biggest question mark that any NFL team has faced in decades.
Since the virus made landfall in the United States months ago, there have been nearly 2.5 million confirmed cases. Over 125,000 people have lost their lives to it. The state of Texas has been hit pretty hard as well, with over 130,000 cases and nearly 2,300 deaths.
Worse, the Lone Star State has been dealing with a recent spike in cases that have halted their efforts to re-open. On Thursday, the state reported nearly 6,000 new cases, with over 4,700 hospitalizations.
As a result, Texas governor Greg Abbott had to order that bars and restaurants either close or limit capacity once again. Though more restrictions are surely on the way.
Part of Abbott's orders include a hard restriction on gatherings of over 100 people outdoors. That could prove problematic for the Cowboys if they plan on reopening their facilities in the near future.
Abbott has admitted this week that shutting down the entire state once more is "the last option". But if these spikes continue, the last option could be coming up soon.
Through it all, the NFL has remained determined to move forward with the 2020 season. Big events like the NFL Draft and free agency have been conducted virtually, as have team meetings.
But the more teams actually show up to their respective facilities to get tested for COVID-19, the more positive test results we get. Just about every team that's showing up to facilities is reporting cases.
As mentioned earlier, Ezekiel Elliott and four of his Dallas Cowboys teammates, were diagnosed with COVID-19. And it's happening in colleges too.
The Texas Longhorns, Houston Cougars and a multitude of other schools are reporting dozens of combined cases.
Thus far there's been only one game canceled: The 2020 Hall of Fame Game that usually kicks off preseason. But even the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony is being pushed off due to COVID-19.
With the first proper preseason games slated for mid-August, there are only a couple of weeks left before the NFL needs to make hard decisions. And those hard decisions may have huge implications for games (even if it's only the preseason).
It doesn't bode too well for any other player who gets the virus when someone as physically gifted as Elliott has to take this long to get back to training. Let alone for someone playing at a high level.
If this happens in the middle of the 2020 season, we could have serious problems competitively. The risks of COVID-19 are too great for stars like Ezekiel Elliott to be throwing caution to the wind.
Here's to hoping that Elliott makes a full recovery. And that goes for everyone dealing with this dangerous virus.