Redskins quarterback Alex Smith isn’t giving up hope of returning to the field in the near future, despite suffering a horrific leg injury last season that resulted in multiple surgeries and a long path to recovery.
“I’m still determined [to play], still marching down the road, still optimistic,” Smith told Yahoo Sports in a recent interview. “I want to push it, for the challenge’s sake. I want to see what I’ve got … I enjoy the challenge, even to this [recovery], coming out here and being with the guys. It’s not going to last forever. I’d like to see where it leads.”
As for the challenges ahead? Smith said his long-term hope is to work his way back toward becoming a starter.
“Well, it’s hard enough to play the quarterback position when you’re 100 percent, and I don’t think you could fake it if I wasn’t,” Smith said. “So the goal is to get back to that, yeah.”
Smith suffered a compound fracture in his leg during the team’s loss to the Texans in Week 11 and underwent surgery Nov. 19. He initially was expected to need six to eight months to recover, but he ended up having to have more surgeries because of an infection. ESPN reported amputation became an option at one point.
Smith said he “knew right away” that his injury was bad: “As soon as I looked down, my leg wasn’t straight.”
Just more than eight months later, Smith has taken steps forward in his recovery process. Yahoo Sports notes he can now drive and work out, and he was able to take off an external fixator, which is a metal frame designed to stabilize his bone, in mid-July after wearing it for more than seven months.
The last 8 months have been nothing short of crazy. Although it’s not over, today is a big milestone. We are shedding the weight Alex has been carrying (literally and figuratively). It’s one step closer to the goal. The resilience, determination and mental fortitude of this man is unmatched.
A post shared by Elizabeth Smith (@lizbsmith11) on Jul 15, 2019 at 9:58am PDT
While Smith has stated his high hopes, those around him believe he’ll do whatever it takes to reach his goals.
“If you know Alex, you know he’s gonna do everything he can to come back — that’s all you can say about him, he’s one of the greatest competitors there is,” coach Jay Gruden told Yahoo Sports. “Those injuries hurt him a little bit, but he’s got a great attitude and a great mindset of he’s gonna get well, he’s gonna get better and he’s gonna play. And that’s all we can do is support him in that regard any way we can. We’re all behind him, we’ll do anything for him.”
Gruden believes Smith’s presence on the sideline will have a big influence on his team. The Redskins are relying on first-round rookie Dwayne Haskins and veterans Case Keenum and Colt McCoy to help fill Smith’s void as all three are competing for the starting job.
“He’s been in all these situations and he knows what they’re like,” Gruden added. “Playoff situations, third down, red zone, clock stoppages, all that stuff … he can help the quarterbacks out.”