The Dallas Cowboys have had one of the best offensive lines in the NFL over the last few seasons. Injuries to guys like La'el Collins and Tyron Smith are really challenging that distinction.
Collins has been dealing with a hip issue since August. The team initially said it wasn't "of high concern," and placed him on the three-week injured reserve, in hopes to have him back this weekend for a date with Myles Garrett and the Cleveland Browns. Unfortunately, he hasn't made the progress that the team was looking for.
"Well, I mean, he's a ways off," head coach Mike McCarthy told the media this week, via CBS Sports. "But I think like anything, any player that's on IR, unfortunately you hope it doesn't get to that option, but time will tell. He's obviously dealing with something that's significant. We'll just continue to do the best we can and help him progress."
Now we have some more information on the situation, and it isn't great. La'el Collins is reportedly committed to playing this year. However, according to Jane Slater, the injury is something significant enough that he would get surgery on it if not for the Cowboys' season being so important.
"I asked why not surgery now and I was told 'if it was Week 10 and the team was 0-8 it would be something they would explore,'" Slater followed up, quoting her source. "'But we are still hoping it's manageable.'"
According to the CBS Sports report, there is no guarantee that Collins comes back this season at all.
Should he opt to undergo surgery, because it will occur with a month of the schedule in the rearview, and because it's not a procedure with a short recovery time -- also factoring in time to return to practice and return to football shape before taking the field for a live game -- it's quite possible Collins will require the next several months or more to recover before again being the dominant right tackle he's proven himself to be.
Tyron Smith has been out with a neck injury, and rookie Terence Steele missed Week 3 against the Seahawks due to the flu. The issues have forced superstar guard Zack Martin out to right tackle, while backup tackle Brandon Knight has played left tackle. He's done well, but this is not the classic Dallas Cowboys line that became such an asset on the early Dak Prescott/Ezekiel Elliott-helmed teams.