Tyron Smith of the Dallas Cowboys is expected to return this season after suffering a torn left hamstring that also hurt his knee, according to club owner and general manager Jerry Jones.

Jones stated on ESPN that he was unsure whether Smith’s injury would necessitate surgery, but that the eight-time Pro Bowler would return late in the season.

According to a source familiar with the accident, which occurred during practice on Wednesday night, Smith suffered a torn hamstring and a knee fracture as a result of the tendon tearing away from the bone. The injury was initially reported by ESPN.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity because there had been no formal disclosure of the injury, the individual said Smith seemed to be out until December.

Smith was hurt during 11-on-11 practice as he attempted to contact defender Leighton Vander Esch approximately 5 yards downfield before collapsing to the ground. He walked off the field without assistance and then passed reporters outside the dressing room.

In recent years, Smith, 31, has been plagued mostly by back, neck, and ankle issues. Since 2016, Smith has missed at least three games in each season. He only appeared in two games in 2020 before undergoing season-ending neck surgery.

Tyler Smith, a rookie first-round pick, might take his position. Tyler Smith has been practicing at left guard but started at left tackle for Tulsa. With an ankle issue, he missed both sessions this week.

Jones told ESPN, “We’ve played a lot of games without Tyron.” “Not as well as we do with him.” But, in the meanwhile, there’s a newcomer on the scene named Tyler Smith.”

The injury is a significant setback for an offensive line that was already in transition.

The Cowboys expected Smith and five-time All-Pro right guard Zack Martin to spearhead a team that is young and inexperienced at the other three positions. Dallas has most likely just added a fourth slot to their list of worries.

Tyron Smith has been replaced at times throughout training camp this year by Josh Ball, a fourth-round selection last year. Ball missed his whole rookie season due to an ankle ailment.

If Tyler Smith moves to left tackle, Connor McGovern, a third-year player, is the likely pick at left guard. McGovern, who missed all of his rookie season with a torn pectoral muscle, was projected to start ahead of Tyler Smith prior to Tyron Smith’s injury. Tyler Biadasz, a third-year player, plays center.

Without Tyron Smith, quarterback Dak Prescott is losing the experienced blocker on his blind side as well as two other starters from last year’s line, while also missing top receiver Amari Cooper, who was sold to Cleveland in an offseason cost-cutting move. Cooper’s No. 1 receiver position has been taken up by CeeDee Lamb.

The defending NFC East champions, who were defeated in a wild-card game at home by San Francisco in January, begin the season with two difficult home games. The season begins on Sept. 11 against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, followed by a visit from Joe Burrow and the AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals.

“I appreciate where we are in terms of skill positions, and honestly, our struggle is in our offensive line,” Jones said. “The offensive talent needs to come up and recognize that we can’t rely on what you may have had up there.”