The Dallas Cowboys had to make it through several games last season without Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith. The same will be true this season.
After reports originally said Smith tore his left hamstring in practice on Wednesday, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Thursday morning that Smith actually suffered an avulsion fracture of the knee which will likely force him to miss most or all of the 2022 season.
#Cowboys standout LT Tyron Smith actually suffered an avulsion fracture of the knee, meaning the hamstring tendon that sits at the back of the knee pulled off the bone and he needs surgery, sources say. If he’s back at all, it’ll be December. A tough loss.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 25, 2022
Video of Smith's injury in practice shows him slipping and falling over as he made contact on a run block. He reportedly left the practice field under his own power without a significant limp, but that didn't stop the bad news.
Here’s video of Tyron Smith’s injury during today’s practice. He walked out of the practice facility about an hour ago under his own power and didn’t appear to have much of a limppic.twitter.com/ODyA3CDFla
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 25, 2022
This is a similar injury to the one New York Jets tackle Mekhi Becton suffered earlier this month. The Jets have already ruled out Becton for the season after placing him on injured reserve.
The development is brutal for the Cowboys, who haven't gotten more than 13 regular season games out of Smith since 2015. Smith is set to make $13.5 million this season, the penultimate year of the enormous eight-year, $97.6 million contract he signed in 2014, which has since become a bargain relative to other left tackle salaries.
Even missing six games last season, Smith was still named to his eighth Pro Bowl team.
The offensive line has long been a source of pride for the Cowboys, but attrition, age and now injury could make the unit a liability for the team this season. The team at least invested in the position by using the 24th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft on Tulsa offensive tackle Tyler Smith, who has been working mostly as a guard since he was drafted.
The Cowboys' other options to replace Tyron Smith include Josh Ball, Matt Waletzko and Aviante Collins, per ESPN's Todd Archer.
Dallas has one more preseason game on Friday against the Seattle Seahawks before opening its season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 11.