It doesn't appear that La'el Collins will ever make an appearance for the Dallas Cowboys in 2020. The starting right tackle, who's missed the first three weeks with a hip injury, will now have surgery and isn't expected to play at all this year.
Collins started the season on injured reserve due to this hip issue and a timetable for his return was never clear. He was eligible to come off IR this week under the adjusted rules COVID-19, but Stephen Jones confirmed earlier this week that La'el wasn't ready and could be out for a while,
Clearly, Jones wasn't exaggerating.
#Cowboys T La’el Collins will now have surgery Wednesday to address the hip injury per source. The pain became intolerable despite him wanting to play through it. I’m told this now means he’s out for the season.
This a tough blow for the Cowboys as Collins had emerged as one of the best right tackle in football. Even the most objective analysts had La'el with teammates Tyron Smith and Zack Martin as NFL elites for offensive lineman after last year.
Thankfully, Smith should be back on the field tomorrow after a two-game absence. This should send swing tackle Brandon Knight back over to the right side to fill in for Collins.
Knight has been playing at left tackle during Tyron's absence. Last week in Seattle, undrafted rookie Terence Steele was benched at halftime due to first-half struggles. Zack Martin slid over to play tackle and still looked like a Pro Bowler doing it.
Martin confirmed earlier this week that he'll be back to his usual spot at right guard against the Browns. That implies Knight will be taking over at right tackle now, where he started one game and played most of another last year during another Collins injury.
While Dallas can still function offensively without him, losing La'el Collins for the year is rough for a team with postseason aspirations. He's more than just a serviceable player; Collins makes this team better and that talent was needed even more after Travis Frederick's retirement.
Unfortunately, the Cowboys will just have to keep adjusting as injuries have already had a major impact on their 2020 campaign. Thankfully, most of the NFL in the same boat in this uniquely difficult season.