Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch is not expected to practice Friday due to a back issue and is currently "not slated" to play Sunday night at the New England Patriots, NFL Network reported Thursday.
Vander Esch was not on the injury report on Wednesday or Thursday, suggesting that the issue only recently surfaced.
The second-year pro missed Week 9 with a neck injury and was limited in practice leading up to Week 10, but his absence lasted just one game, and he was off the injury report last week.
Vander Esch, 23, was the Cowboys' first-round pick in 2018, totaling 140 tackles, seven pass breakups and two interceptions in 16 games (11 starts). He has 72 tackles and three pass breakups through nine games this season.
Meanwhile, Cowboys right tackle La'el Collins missed his second straight day of practice with knee and back issues on Thursday. He played through such issues last week despite getting in only a limited session on Friday.
The Cowboys (6-4) face the Patriots (9-1) on Sunday Night Football in Foxborough, Mass.
--Field Level Media