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Why La'el Collins' Injury Timetable Is Unclear


FRISCO, Texas – La'el Collins is eligible to be activated from the Reserve/Injured list this week, but it doesn't sound like the starting right tackle is necessarily close to a return.

Collins was placed on Reserve/Injured in Week 1 with a reported hip injury that limited his practice time in training camp. This season, players on IR can return to the active roster after a minimum of three weeks on the reserve list.

Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones was asked if Collins might need surgery and what his timetable might be to make his season debut.

"We don't know. I don't know. The doctors don't know," Jones told 105.3 The Fan Tuesday. "We are trying to work through some structure issues. … The less activity you can have sometimes in these injuries or in these health issues, the harder it is to get it better, and you can have something else that's preventing you from doing the things you need to do to get better in another part of your body. And that's what's happening here."

Monday, Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones said Collins is "working with a couple issues that he's trying to get right."

"Don't want to get into specifics in terms of exactly what his injury is or injuries are," Stephen Jones told 105.3 The Fan. "But working through all that with him, trying to get him in a place where he can get himself ready to play at a high level again."

Rookie Terence Steele has started the first three games at right tackle, but the Cowboys made a second-half shift at multiple offensive line spots. Right guard Zack Martin replaced Steele, center Joe Looney moved to right guard and rookie Tyler Biadasz substituted at center.

The Cowboys are optimistic that starting left tackle Tyron Smith is closer to returning from a two-game absence due to a neck injury. But Collins' status is unclear at this point.

Jones said the club has been patient to see if managing Collins' injury can be the solution without needing surgery.

"Because of the length of the season, you can basically have surgery sometimes in July and you can be sitting in there a month before the playoffs and be back helping your team. That happens. So, you want to do it early," Jones said. "The reason you don't do it early is because, if necessary, you have moved along and have narrowed that gap of how to manage it so you can get the most time for the season. Every player wants to do that and certainly the team does. So, we've been easing along so that we can see if we can get more time that way with Collins. And that's the process that you see going on.

"It's still working, still possible for him to play. The longer you go, the less optimistic you get."


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