If anyone thought Alex Smith was going to take the easy way out, and go through the motions of rehabilitation for his broken leg while collecting checks, they underestimated his toughness and willpower. Whether you like Washington's former starting QB, or want to just turn the page on another unsuccessful attempt to fill the QB position, you have to respect what Smith has gone through to get to this phase of his recovery.
The world watched what Alex Smith had to deal with as he recovered from one of the worst football injuries we've seen in an ESPN special titled Project 11. We watched the mental effects he struggled with as a result of the broken leg, and the 17 surgeries needed to fix his leg and remove life-threatening infections. We also watched as he rehabbed and did physical therapy to get back onto the football field, something no one thought was possible.
“I think when we look at return to play projections, we always use [comparisons] in medicine — this is how we define the likelihood that somebody can come back.
But when you’re an athlete who’s trying to do something that’s never been done before — there’s never been a professional athlete who’s had this type of injury, with these consequences, and associated nuances of this injury try to come back to play. So, if you’re the first to do it, it’s hard to put a percentage on it.”
Stephania Bell said this in February about Alex Smith’s quest to do something that's never been done before. Today she is reporting that Smith has been cleared for full football activity. He is currently undergoing COVID-19 testing, and is expected to report to the team for a physical on Monday.
I had a conversation with Alex Smith today and, well, I hope you’ll read this:— Stephania Bell (@Stephania_ESPN) July 24, 2020
Washington QB Alex Smith cleared for full football activity after broken leg https://t.co/Lpn9zH27Cg
What happens next is up to the Washington Football Team and their doctors. Smith has been cleared by his doctors for full football activities, but he will have to pass his physical and be cleared for contact.
Smith underwent another round of imaging, including X-rays and a CT scan upon returning home to Washington. His team of doctors, including orthopedic trauma surgeons Steve Malekzadeh and Michael Holtzman, plastic surgeon Vineet Mehan and head Washington team physician Robin West, as well as Dr. Joe Alderete from the Center for the Intrepid (who served as a consultant throughout Smith’s post-operative care), discussed the imaging results before meeting with Smith and his wife, Elizabeth, to share their findings.
“Everyone was in agreement that my bone was in a really good place,” Smith told ESPN. “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."
Alex Smith is under contract with Washington through the 2022 season. He has a $16 million guaranteed salary this year, but only has $10.8 million of dead cap for the final two years of his deal. Those numbers, plus an injury that was supposed to end his career, made most people think this was his last year in Washington and that it would be spent mentoring starting QB Dwayne Haskins Jr.