LOCALS IN THE NFL

Washington Quarterback Alex Smith Says He’s Cleared For Full Football Activity After 2018 Leg Injury

Jul 24, 2020, 5:56 PM | Updated: 10:52 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Former Utah Utes and current NFL quarterback for Washington, Alex Smith, told ESPN’s Stephania Bell that’s he’s been cleared for full football activity after suffering a brutal leg injury in 2018.

Smith reportedly spoke to ESPN while filming an update for the “Project 11” documentary about his injury and recovery process. The “Project 11” documentary is available on-demand via ESPN+.

“For me, all eyes are on practice,” Smith told ESPN. “That’s the next step. I have to go prove to myself and certainly to everybody else that I can go practice.”

Bell said that Smith is currently undergoing testing for the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, and expects to report to Washington’s team facility to undergo a physical on Monday, July 27.

After Smith reports, Washington “is expected to determine the next steps for Smith’s eventual participation in training camp.”

“Everyone was in agreement that my bone was in a really good place. 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,” Smith told ESPN. “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.”

Alex Smith’s 2018 Injury

The former Utah quarterback suffered a broken fibula and tibia during Washington’s game against the Houston Texans on November 18, 2018.

“It went fuzzy,” Smith recalled the injury during “Project 11.”

Doctors attended to the injured signal-caller and determined immediate surgery was required.

Days after the initial surgery, Smith developed a fever and his leg became infected with flesh-eating bacteria. Multiple surgeries were required to remove all of the dead tissue from his limb.

“He progressively got worse,” Smith’s wife Elizabeth recounted. “He wasn’t Alex.”

Smith said that he doesn’t remember much of this process and didn’t immediately understand the significance of the injury.

“The last thing I remember was them wrapping my leg and seeing it look like that [infected],” Smith said.

Saving Alex Smith’s Leg

Following the development of the infection, doctors consulted with Elizabeth Smith to determine the next steps in helping Alex.

Questions like “Can we get control of it?” and “If we can’t get control of it, what do we do?” were in the minds 0f Smith’s doctors.

Not only was Smith’s leg in jeopardy, but so was his life.

“I can’t go home to my children without him,” Smith’s wife recalled. “Just make sure he gets up. He wakes up. I don’t care if it’s with one leg or no legs. We just need to make sure he’s ok.”

“Maybe cutting off your leg is the best thing,” Alex Smith said of the discussion to amputate his limb.

Ultimately, amputation wasn’t the chosen route. Doctors, along with Smith, continued to fight to save the leg.

In total, the QB experienced 17 surgeries.

Smith’s injury was so severe that it was no longer considered a sports-related injury. The damage done to the leg was compared to military injuries and Smith went to San Antonio, Texas to rehab.

Alex Smith’s Future

Smith’s path back from the brutal injury hasn’t been an easy one. It even took the quarterback a while to think about football again.

“I didn’t really want to think about football and couldn’t really think about football for so long,” Smith said.

After 10 months of recovery and lots of hard work, Smith was able to walk on the turf at FedEx Field prior to a Washington game in September 2019.

“I feel really good about where I am. Optimistic and hopeful,” Smith said that day at FedEx Field.

Although he wasn’t playing under center that September day, the quarterback still has the goal to return to the gridiron but feels good with whatever happens.

“I’m feeling pretty good about the rest of my life,” Smith said. “Regardless of what happens with football.”

Alex Smith’s NFL Career

Smith has played in the NFL since 2005. He was drafted out of Utah by the San Francisco 49ers with the first overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft.

He’s been a member of the Niners, Kansas City Chiefs, and Washington.

In 2018, his first season with Washington, Smith passed for 2,180 yards with a 62.5 completion percentage. He threw 10 touchdowns and 5 interceptions in 10 games before going out with the injury.

Through 166 career games, Smith has completed 62.4 percent of his throws for 34,068 yards, 193 touchdowns, and 101 interceptions.

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