La'el Collins Focused On Injury Rehab; Not Ruling Out Return In 2016

FRISCO, Texas – La'el Collins is wearing a walking boot on his right foot. He's getting around The Star in Frisco on a scooter. His friends and family have driven him around town since undergoing surgery in early October to repair his injured big toe.

"Which is kind of a good thing," Collins said, "because I get to kind of sit in the passenger side and just ride."

The second-year guard is focused on the positives, including this goal: he hasn't given up on playing later this season.

"I don't think that's out the window right now," he said. "So we've just got to see how it goes, see how it's feeling."

The Cowboys placed Collins on injured reserve Oct. 4, and each NFL team is permitted to activate one player from injured reserve during the season after a minimum of eight weeks.

Whether Collins can return for a possible late-season playoff run remains to be seen. For now, Ronald Leary has stepped in at left guard, and Collins is focused on his rehab with the athletic training staff.

He suffered the injury in the first half of the Cowboys' Sept. 25 win over the Chicago Bears, then missed the following game against the San Francisco 49ers, initially hoping rest and treatment would be enough.

But after consulting with trusted foot specialists, Collins and the Cowboys opted for surgery.

"We waited a couple days before we wanted to move too fast in either direction," he said. "The best guys looked at it and we did a great job with it. It's feeling good."

Linebacker Sean Lee and defensive tackle Terrell McClain had surgery for a similar toe injury in 2012 and 2015, respectively. Both missed the rest of those seasons but returned healthy the following year.

"They haven't had any problems since they had the injury, so I feel like it'll be the same this way," Collins said.

For now, all Collins can do is rehab the injury and support his offensive line teammates.

"It's an honor just to see that the level of play never drops no matter where we are," he said. "It shows the kind of guys we've got."

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