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Cowboys cautiously optimistic about LT Tyron Smith's return versus Chiefs

The Dallas Cowboys are hopeful that All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith can play in the big Week 11 showdown against Kansas City but they will make sure that he’s ready

DALLAS — The Dallas Cowboys have tempered optimism when it comes to the prospects of left tackle Tyron Smith playing against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11.

Smith has not played a down since the second quarter of Week 8 when Dallas prevailed 20-16 over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football as the All-Pro works through a bone spur in his ankle.

Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones told "K&C Masterpiece" on 105.3 "The Fan" [KRLD-FM] on Monday that Smith has "got a real shot" at playing against Kansas City, but his availability is commensurate with practice throughout the week.

"I do think we’ll add Tyron to the list of guys who will be able to step up and play," Jones said.

Coach Mike McCarthy told reporters on Monday that the expectation is that Smith will be available to practice this week, but it is a question of how much of the workload he can withstand.

"We’ll see," said McCarthy. "If he practices throughout the week then he would be available obviously Sunday but if he doesn’t we’ll have to project, so, we’ll see how it goes [at practice]."

Cowboys owner, president, and general manager Jerry Jones told "Shan & RJ" on The Fan Tuesday that because Smith is an 11-year veteran, they have a body of work to compare. Therefore, Smith's availability can still be had against the Chiefs even if his participation in practice is limited.

"Tyron is very — I’d not say predictable is the word — but you can measure how he’s doing, what he’s doing," Jones said. "He’s the ultimate pro at this stage in his career, and you can get a good feel if he’s going to be active that week, and it looks good.”

The Cowboys are managing more than the Kansas City game. Starting Sunday, the Cowboys will play three games in a 12-day span as they face the Chiefs on the road on Nov. 21, play the Las Vegas Raiders at AT&T Stadium on Nov. 25, and then visit the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 2.

"This is a stretch that you got to be very conscientious of how guys are going into this game and just do the math, I mean, if someone’s in danger of playing this week, you don’t play them until Thanksgiving Day, then they play New Orleans," McCarthy explained. "So 10 days, seven, seven — this will be the game that is probably under the most scrutiny on if a guy plays or doesn’t play."

If Smith is unable to go for the third straight game, Jones expressed confidence in Terence Steele on Tuesday.

"Steele, again, having a really top year, but showed what repetition will do in every game, and he grew from it and basically giving us now a top alternative if we may need him at left tackle," said Jones. "Boy, what a bonus for us to have him.”

Would you rather see Tyron Smith rest until the Thanksgiving game or attempt to play in Kansas City? Share your thoughts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.

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