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Tyron Smith Shut Down by Cowboys Due to Back Injury

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 9, 2017

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 13:  Tyron Smith #77 of the Dallas Cowboys in action against the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 13, 2016 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys will shut down left tackle Tyron Smith for an "extended stretch" due to a sore back, according to Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News.

Per K.D. Drummond of USA Today, Smith missed some practice time last week as well with back stiffness.

Smith has a recent history of back issues, as he dealt with back and knee injuries last season. In all, he played 13 games in 2016 after missing just one game from 2011 through 2015.

While Smith doesn't draw as many headlines in Dallas as quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott or wide receiver Dez Bryant, he is one of the most important players on the offense. He is a four-time Pro Bowler, a two-time first-team All-Pro and a key contributor on one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.

Football Outsiders ranked the Cowboys offensive line as the fourth-best run-blocking unit in the league in 2016, clearing the way for Elliott to rack up an NFL-best 1,631 rushing yards.  

If Smith is forced to miss more time, Dallas will likely turn toward Emmett Cleary to take his place. Cleary appeared in 13 contests for the Cowboys last season but is far from a proven commodity like Smith.  

The Cowboys haven't given any indication that Smith's injury will be a long-term issue, which suggests plans are currently for Cleary to get first-team reps during practice.  

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