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Despite Injury, Short Week, OT Smith Not Ruling Himself Out

IRVING, Texas – On the surface, the chances of left tackle Tyron Smith playing Thursday seem rather unlikely.

While all injuries are unique, the high-ankle sprain injury is typically one that keeps players out for multiple weeks. Case in point – Jay Ratliff missed six weeks and Sean Lissemore has also missed five and probably won't return this week.

Smith's injury was severe enough Sunday to keep him from returning in the second half. And throw in the fact that it's a short week – only four days in between games.

Add it all up and it's easy to suggest Smith will sit this one out, right?

Well, maybe not so fast.

On Monday, Smith would not rule himself out for Thursday's game with the Redskins. In fact, he called himself a game-time decision.

"I've just got to be smart about this injury and not hurt myself even more," Smith said. "I tried to come back (Sunday) but it just felt really weak. I didn't want to hurt my team and be out there if I couldn't go." 

The reasons tend to vary on why some players can return from the high-ankle sprain faster than others. In the past, the Cowboys have had players such as Leonard Davis and Patrick Crayton return from the injury the next week. In fact, Crayton suffered the injury this time in 2007 against Washington and managed to return four days later on Thanksgiving and played against the Jets.

"It's basically how you deal with the soreness in your ankle and how much your body can take," Smith said. "I'm going to try my best to get out there. It still feels stiff. I'm just trying to rehab it right now."

There is a thought Smith could get himself ready to

The Cowboys obviously need his services, especially considering how backup Jermey Parnell appeared to struggled in his first game with extensive playing time at tackle. Overall, the Cowboys allowed Tony Romo to be sacked seven times. And while Parnell had a hand in the problems, so did right tackle Doug Free, who arguably had one of his worst performances since becoming a full-time starter.

The tricky part for the Cowboys is how they juggle their lineup across the board. Even Smith can't go and Parnell is forced to start again, the backup swing tackle now comes into question as well.

"We'll just see what Tyron's health is as we go forward here in the next couple of days and what his availability will be," Garrett said in regards to the swing tackle. "The obvious choice for us would be Derrick Dockery. He's played a little bit of tackle in this league. He's a bigger, longer guy. He played guard yesterday for us with Mackenzy (Bernadeau) moving over to center, so he has to be versatile and then we'll have to make our next best move if that were the case."

Of course, the health of centers Ryan Cook and Phil Costa have forced Bernadeau inside, taking him from guard, opening it up for Dockery.

Clearly, there is a domino-effect on the offensive line. And the Cowboys only have a few days to figure it out a way these dominos don't start crashing down to create an even bigger mess.

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