Some members of the Dallas Cowboys fanbase may already be starting to lose hope for the 2022 season after Pro Bowl offensive tackle Tyron Smith suffered a serious hamstring injury.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported an update Thursday, noting Smith is expected to miss at least a vast majority of the regular season:
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Cowboys?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Cowboys</a> 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.
ESPN's Adam Schefter added the surgery could happen "as early as today" and provided the same December best-case timetable as Rapoport.
It's a major setback for a Dak Prescott-led offense already dealing with injuries to a pair of key wide receivers, Michael Gallup and James Washington.
Here's a look at some reaction to the news:
Kelly K-9 🌵 @Kelly_K_9
Tyron Smith is Tony Romo at this point in his career. Still talented, but his body is failing him. His times up. This Cowboys FO is incompetent for NOT having made plans for this, & they are failing Dak, this Team & us fans at this point if they do not address this IMMEDIATELY.
RJ Ochoa @rjochoa
How the Dallas Cowboys approached the tackle position this off-season knowing that Tyron Smith had missed time six years in a row:<br>- Cut La’el Collins<br>- Drafted Tyler Smith, put him at guard <br>- Drafted Matt Waletzko<br><br>They knew this was likely coming and didn’t properly prepare.
Emmanuel Acho @EmmanuelAcho
Tyron Smith is the most physically imposing Left Tackle I’ve ever played against and maybe ever seen. He’s invaluable to the Cowboys. There may be a substitute, but there is no replacing him. Horrific Loss for the cowboys. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CowboysNation?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CowboysNation</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FirstBallot?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FirstBallot</a>
Matt Waletzko and Josh Ball are likely to compete over the next few weeks to fill the critical void along the Cowboys' offensive line. Neither one can be expected to match the standard of Smith, who earned a terrific 91.4 overall grade from Pro Football Focus in 2021.
Dallas will hope it is able to keep pace in the wide-open NFC East long enough for the eight-time Pro Bowler to return for the stretch run of the regular season.
Reaching the playoffs is going to get tougher with each additional injury, however, especially since the ability to protect Prescott, who's less than two years removed from a serious ankle injury, is now a massive concern.
The Cowboys don't get an easy start to their schedule either. They open the regular season with two matchups against Super Bowl contenders: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1 and the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2.