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La'el Collins has torn ligament in foot, out 6-10 weeks

The Dallas Cowboys will have to do without a key starter on their celebrated offensive line.

Second-year guard La'el Collins has torn a ligament in his foot, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, via a source informed of the injury. A second opinion will determine if Collins needs surgery, but he's tentatively expected to miss 6-10 weeks, per Rapoport.

Rapoport added Collins is a candidate to be placed on IR-designated to return.

On Tuesday morning, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on 105.3 The Fan that Collins most likely would not need surgery and that it would be a matter of pain tolerance.

Collins told reporters on Tuesday that he's seeking more opinions on his toe, and is hoping to avoid surgery on it. The positive news for the offensive lineman? He said he's been told by doctors that it's possible the ligament damage can repair itself without surgery.

A first-round talent who slipped out of last year's draft due to a bizarre controversy involving a murder investigation, Collins helped key Darren McFadden's 2015 second-half resurgence when the two entered the starting lineup together in October. The former LSU star gained instant notoriety as a road-grading run blocker pancaking defensive ends at the point of the attack and defensive backs at the second level.

Despite that high-profile pedigree, this is far from a debilitating loss for Dallas' offense. Collins had yet to find his groove through three games, and the Cowboys are uniquely positioned to withstand his loss after failing to find a trade partner for veteran Ronald Leary this past summer.

Perhaps the most accomplished backup lineman in football, Leary started 35 of 36 consecutive games before giving way to Collins.

"I know I'm a starter in this league, so I just approach it like I'm a starter," Leary insisted in August. "I make sure I'm ready for whatever comes my way."

Leary helped pave the way for DeMarco Murray's Offensive Player of the Year campaign in 2014. Now he'll try to do the same for Ezekiel Elliott's Offensive Rookie of the Year chances over the next two months.

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