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Tyron Smith 'feeling great' after injury-plagued 2017

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Tyron Smith spoke words this week that surely made Dak Prescott -- and all Dallas Cowboys fans, for that matter -- happy.

In talking with the team's website at teammate Tyrone Crawford's annual football camp in Windsor, Ontario, Smith said his problematic back, and the other injuries that caused him to miss three games and portions of two others this past season, are feeling better than ever.

"I'm feeling great now," Smith said. "Actually, I feel like I'm in the best shape I've been in a while. I've taken this offseason to get back into it a little early and try to take care of my body a little more. I'm just doing the little small [rehab] things and I just feel awesome right now."

Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Dez Bryant tend to grab the headlines when the Cowboys win and lose, but it's their star left tackle who's quietly the key cog in determining Dallas' success. Smith has missed six total starts the past two seasons. The Cowboys are 3-3 in those contests. In his 26 starts, the Cowboys are 19-7.

His importance to the Cowboys was never more visible than in Week 10 last season, when he needed to sit out because of a groin injury and his replacements, Chaz Green and Byron Bell, gave up a stunning six sacks to Falcons pass rusher Adrian Clayborn in a 27-7 blowout loss.

Smith said this weekend the rehab he's been doing this offseason has him optimistic there will be no replay of that in 2018.

"I went to California and went to a facility out there and starting training and rehabbing a little early," Smith said. "We just worked on the little things like stretching and taking pressure off my back and opening up my hips a little bit. It's just little things but I'm feeling great."

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