Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith to have surgery for neck injury, will miss rest of 2020 NFL season

The Cowboys are shutting down seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith for the season.

Smith will undergo surgery next week on a lingering neck issue that had already sidelined him two games in 2020.

“This is something that needs to be done,” head coach Mike McCarthy said. McCarthy said Smith’s neck injury is “correctable.”

The loss of Smith, among the league’s best players at one of the most important positions, is a huge blow for a Cowboys group ravaged by injuries this season.

McCarthy was hired in Dallas in January with a formidable roster at offensive line. Since then, five-time Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick retired in March. Right tackle La’el Collins, who’s started 61 games since 2015, underwent hip surgery that eliminated his whole season. Now Smith, after playing Weeks 1 and 4, is out. Center Joe Looney is expected to miss a few games with a knee injury suffered the first snap of Week 4. And offensive tackle Cameron Erving was placed on injured reserve after Week 1.

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“He made the point he wants to be here + make sure he’s helping the tackles,” McCarthy said. “I think that speaks to him as a man and leader.”

“Make no mistake about it, you don’t play pro football if you don’t factor in injury,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Friday on Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan. “That’s what makes this such a challenging game. That’s what’s so great when you win.”

Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith will miss the remainder of the 2020 season with a neck injury. (Photo: Matthew Emmons, USA TODAY Sports)

Against the Giants on Sunday, Dallas is now expected to start rookies at right tackle (Terence Steele, undrafted out of Texas Tech) and center (Tyler Biadasz, fourth round out of Wisconsin). Brandon Knight, a 2019 undrafted free agent, is expected to start at left tackle.

Tony Romo has spoken before about NFL teams needing a position group they’re elite at to thrive. For much of last decade, Cowboys’ was OL. Down Tyron Smith, La’el Collins, Travis Frederick, that’s no more.

Romo’s commentary Sunday will be interesting.

Right guard Zack Martin is the only Pro Bowl lineman remaining as the Cowboys attempt to climb out of a 1-3 hole.

“It’s life in the NFL,” McCarthy said. “It comes at you in different ways.”

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein

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