Adding injury to insult following Sunday’s tough loss in New Orleans, Dallas Cowboys perennial Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith picked up what could amount to a multi-week ailment.
Smith sustained a high-ankle sprain amid Dallas’ 12-10 loss to the Saints at the Superdome, owner Jerry Jones announced after the game, failing to divulge additional details on the blindside blocker’s immediate status.
Smith was injured on the Cowboys’ final drive when quarterback Dak Prescott landed on Smith’s ankle while being sacked. Reporters milling around the post-game scene spotted him in a walking boot in the locker room, and he was reported to be in considerable pain, at one point needing a cart for assistance.
Smith is likely to undergo further testing once the team returns to Texas.
And equally likely to miss the Cowboys’ next game, a Week 5 home contest against the Packers and their surprisingly stout defense. High-ankle sprains are notoriously tricky to rehab as they tend to linger and are easily re-aggravated. In a worst-case scenario, Smith is out through Dallas’ Week 8 bye.
At the very least, head coach Jason Garrett should provide something resembling an update during his media availability Monday. The Cowboys return to practice Wednesday.
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With Smith sidelined — let’s assume for two weeks — the Cowboys will turn to one of only two backup tackles on the 53-man roster, sixth-year pro Cameron Fleming, who started three games in Smith’s stead last season.
A 2014 fourth-round pick of the New England Patriots, Fleming is experienced and dependable, enough to hold the fort until Smith is healthy. He’s not the world’s best tackle, but you could do a lot worse than the man whom Dallas re-signed to a two-year, $7.5 million contract this offseason, after coming over from New England in 2018.
It’s possible, too, the Cowboys elevate offensive line coach Marc Colombo’s pet project, decorated undrafted rookie (there is such a thing) Mitch Hyatt, from the practice squad to the active roster as insurance behind Fleming and RT La’el Collins and backup Brandon Knight.
Cowboys Down, but Hardly Defeated
It was a disheartening defeat, yes. The Saints beat the undefeated Cowboys without their future Hall of Fame quarterback and, remarkably, without reaching the end zone. It was a reality-check moment for a squad that may have been, as the kids say, feeling themselves a bit too much entering Sunday Night Football.
That being said, it is a single loss in a very young season. And Dallas remains atop its division, which doesn’t appear the least bit threatening. But don’t take my word for it — just ask center Travis Frederick.
“One loss isn’t going to define our season. It’s early in the season and we know that,” Frederick said, per ESPN.com. “We have a veteran group and we understand it’s a long season, so one loss isn’t going to be the end of the world. What this is going to do is show us a lot on film. We’re going to have a chance to see what those guys did on defense and what future teams are going to try to do to us and the things we need to do to adjust and be better.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL