In a surprising pre-training camp twist, Alex Smith’s surgical team has cleared him for full football activity in 2020.
When Alex Smith suffered a catastrophic leg injury in the Fall of 2018, many assumed that his football career would be over. But nearly two years later, he is taking the next step needed to return to the practice field.
According to ESPN’s Stephania Bell, Smith’s surgical team has given him full clearance to resume football activity. Smith detailed the decision and what it means for his future in an interview with ESPN.
“Everyone was in agreement that my bone was in a really good place,” Smith told ESPN on Friday. “I had healed a lot. They said that given the combination of the rod and where I was with the healing process, I had zero limitations and could even resume some football activities.
“To hear them say that, from a life standpoint, they wouldn’t restrict me from doing anything — I could go skiing or snowboarding tomorrow if I wanted — then on top of that, to get the green light that I could practice, get contact, that I had healed up, that much was pretty wild to hear. I didn’t know if I would ever hear those words.”
It’s excellent news for Smith that he can return to practice. As he put it, from a life standpoint, he has made as full a recovery as possible. Now, he will have a chance to return to the practice field in what he hopes will be the not-so-distant future.
Of course, there are still hangups with Smith. The Washington Football Team will have to clear him to practice. The team will want to move forward with an abundance of caution given the brutal nature of his injury. So, they won’t let Smith return until they are 100 percent confident that he can handle that.
If Smith isn’t quite 100 percent yet, the team may opt to put him on the PUP list. Or they could stash him on IR for another year if they’re worried about the potential for re-injury. Even if Smith is ready for full football activity, extra time to heal and strengthen his injury can’t hurt. And Washington surely realizes that.
In the best-case scenario, Smith proves that he’s ready to play and can fight for a spot in Washington’s quarterback room this year. Dwayne Haskins would still probably be the starter since the team has to figure out what they have in him, but Smith could push Kyle Allen for the backup job.
In the worst-case scenario, Smith doesn’t look ready and the team stashes him for another year while keeping him around to help the younger quarterbacks develop. He should be an asset to the organization. It just depends on what form that will be in.
As interesting as Smith’s role with Washington will be, the biggest takeaway from this interview is the excellent news for Smith. He’s a stand-up guy who got dealt a raw hand and has persevered through it to make the best of it. Regardless of what he can or can’t do moving forward, the Washington faithful will applaud his efforts and will hope that he can return to the field to complete what would be both an improbable and epic comeback.