The Dallas Cowboys are uncertain whether Tyron Smith will be able to play again this season and are considering placing the star’s left tackle in reserve injured due to a neck injury, a team source confirmed to Ed Werder. by ESPN.
Smith’s neck injury flared up in training following the Cowboys season opener, and he missed the next two games before returning for Sunday’s defeat to the Cleveland Browns. But he suffered a setback, the source confirmed, and skipped rehearsals Wednesday.
A source also confirmed that Smith is looking for a second opinion to find the best way to fix the problem.
“He’s further behind than he was this time last week, that would be the best way to describe him,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said ahead of rehearsal Thursday, adding that Smith would work with the rehab team.
NFL Network first reported on Thursday the possibility that Smith could miss the rest of the season.
Smith has missed games in each of the past five seasons, facing back, hamstring, knee and elbow injuries as well as neck injury.
Brandon Knight started in weeks 2 and 3 for Smith against the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks, but took over last week at right tack after unsuccessful rookie Terence Steele wrestled. Knight could return to tackle left, with Cameron Erving, who is eligible to return from the injured reserve this week, and Steele battling for the right tackle spot.
Erving suffered a knee injury in the season opener. The Cowboys added veteran Jordan Mills to the training squad late last week. He has 84 career starts with the right tackle.
“Just like any staff appraisal, their experience is an advantage,” McCarthy said. “He came in, went through some sort of transition last week. I thought he did some good things yesterday in practice. So definitely, experience is important. You never have enough experience, especially in the tackle position.”
The Cowboys have not faced La’el Collins all season and underwent late season hip surgery on Wednesday.
Losing both tackles would have a bigger impact on Dak Prescott, but the quarterback is confident the attack can be successful.
“Obviously, you can’t replace some of the guys we have on this team and some of our original owners, but I have a lot of faith that the coaches and the people in the front office make the right decisions by putting these people here,” Prescott said. “Not only that, I see the way these guys come in, train and prepare. For me it’s about instilling confidence and letting them know that I trust them, believe in them and will go to war with them.”
Todd Archer of ESPN contributed to this report.