The Dallas Cowboys have sustained their first significant setback this off-season.
Defensive tackle Maliek Collins broke the fifth metatarsal in his left foot during conditioning drills Thursday, sources confirmed. Collins is expected to have surgery early next week with the hope he'd be ready by the middle of training camp.
If he goes on that timeline, Collins could be ready for the season opener at Carolina on Sept. 9.
Collins battled a foot injury much of last season, but started every game. He underwent surgery on his left foot to address a stress reaction after the season.
Collins has dealt with foot injuries since his rookie season. He broke his right foot during organized team activities (OTAs) as a rookie, which caused him to miss part of training camp. But Collins played every regular-season game, including 14 starts.
The Cowboys have used Collins as the under tackle and nose tackle in the 4-3 Tampa 2 scheme run by defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
Collins started last season as the under tackle when David Irving served a suspension to start the season and missed games later in the year due to a concussion. When Irving was available, Collins played nose tackle.
Collins finished his second season being credited with 18 tackles and 25 quarterback pressures by the coaching staff, along with 2.5 sacks, three tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries.
The Cowboys have been focused on adding interior depth this off-season. They traded for Jihad Ward during the draft, and could bring back Terrell McClain as well.