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Tyron Smith Out vs. Falcons with Back, Groin Injuries

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistNovember 11, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 1: Tyron Smith #77 of the Dallas Cowboys watches from the sidelines during an NFL game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium December 1, 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Tom Dahlin/Getty Images)
Tom Dahlin/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys announced Saturday that left tackle Tyron Smith will miss Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons with back and groin injuries, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

This is another setback for the offensive tackle. The Cowboys shut him down for a stretch before the season with a back injury, and he suffered back and knee injuries in 2016 on his way to 13 games.

The offensive line is critical for Dallas' success, as it helps clear rushing lanes and keeps quarterback Dak Prescott upright. Smith is an important cog up front as a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro member, and his absence would be significant moving forward.

His absence could be exacerbated Sunday since running back Ezekiel Elliott will begin serving his six-game suspension, meaning the line will be tasked with blocking for less-talented backs in Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden and Rod Smith.

Dallas could turn toward Byron Bell with Smith out of the lineup. Bell is versatile enough to play at guard or tackle, but he will struggle to be the force Smith has been throughout his career.

Dallas could use its Pro Bowl lineman back and healthy as it strives to defend its NFC East crown.

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