Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith is out indefinitely after suffering a torn hamstring in practice Wednesday. Smith could miss multiple months in the 2022 season, and a hesitant return date in December has been set.

Following his injury, which occurred during a running play that required him to block linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, a source told ESPN that Smith and the Cowboys waited for a second opinion before proceeding with surgery on Friday.

Without eight-time Pro Bowler Smith for most of the season, the Cowboys will now have to compensate for a massive gap in their offensive line with less than three weeks before the regular season begins. The obvious solution is to replace Smith with rookie Tyler Smith, the Cowboys’ first round pick in the 2022 Draft. But the younger Smith was already projected to start alongside his experienced counterpart and it’s unclear if he is prepared to take on the challenge of protecting quarterback Dak Prescott’s blind side in a leading role.

The Cowboys have enjoyed solid play from their offensive line for many years, helping to make Dallas one of the most offensively gifted teams in the league. Though Tyron Smith does not appear in headlines, but an eight-year, $109 million contract he signed in 2014 demonstrates his value to the team.

If Tyler Smith does not suffice as a suitable replacement, the Cowboys may have to consider outside options. They have some cap space to do so, about $20 million, but none of the options will come close to singlehandedly making up for the injury. For now, it appears to be an irreplaceable loss.

The Dallas Cowboys will begin the regular season on Sept. 11, at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The schedule will not get much easier from there, as the team will have to face three playoff teams from 2021 in the first five weeks, including the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams.

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