The Cowboys expect left guard La’el Collins to return for the playoff run, strengthening the depth of their already dominant offensive line.
“He’s worked very hard to come back,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Monday. “We’re going to give him every chance to do that. Whether he’ll be available to practice this week, I don’t know that right now. He’s working with our strength and conditioning coaches. He’s working with our trainers and our rehab guys really each and every day. We’ll see how he does over the course of this week. We’re certainly hopeful at some point he’ll be able to come back this season. We’ll just take his situation day by day.”
Collins, a second-year veteran, injured his right big toe in the first quarter of the Week 3 victory over the Bears. An MRI revealed a ligament tear, and after consultation with specialist Dr. Robert Anderson, Collins underwent surgery Oct. 4.
The Cowboys placed Collins on injured reserve Oct. 5. Having missed the required eight weeks, he is eligible to return to the active roster as Dallas has not played its one designated-to-return card yet.
Collins said last week that rehab was going well and that he expected to be an option for the divisional round playoff game on Jan. 15.
“I’ve just got to make sure I can plant my foot to take on that bull rush,” Collins said. “That’s the only thing I need to make sure I can do. But, yeah, I should be ready [for the playoffs].”
Collins is expected to return as a backup, inactive on game day, but providing a solid option in case of injury. Starting left guard Ron Leary, who replaced Collins, missed Sunday’s game to rest his back.
Collins won the job last season while Leary was injured and started 11 games as a rookie.
The Cowboys would have an easy move to make, having added offensive guard Ryan Seymour last week with Leary and left tackle Tyron Smith out of Sunday’s game. Seymour played four special teams snaps against the Eagles, and Collins will take his place on the roster if he’s ready to return.