After seventeen surgical procedures, a life-threatening infectious, a misplaced season and months of arduous rehab, Smith returned to the sector in October. On Saturday, he’ll begin Washington’s first playoff recreation in 5 years.
Nov. 18, 2018: The damage
Thirty-three years to the day since former Washington quarterback Joe Theismann suffered his personal ugly leg damage, Smith suffered a spiral compound fracture of the tibia and fibula in his proper leg on a sack by Texans security Kareem Jackson at FedEx Discipline.
“It simply breaks your coronary heart,” Washington Coach Jay Gruden stated after Washington’s 23-21 loss. “Bodily, he’ll be effective. Mentally, he’ll be effective. It’s simply exhausting to look at that occur to any athlete on the soccer group.”
“I noticed the best way his foot was, and I turned away,” stated Theismann, who watched the fateful play from a set.
Dec. 6, 2018: Crew points assertion
Sooner or later after Smith’s damage, Gruden stated the quarterback’s surgical procedure went effectively and that he confronted a six- to eight-month restoration timeline. With Smith nonetheless hospitalized three weeks later after growing a critical an infection in his leg, the group issued a press release.
“Though this can be a critical damage, Alex and his household stay robust,” the assertion learn partially. “We might ask that everybody please honor the Smith household’s request for privateness presently.”
It will be greater than a yr earlier than Smith spoke publicly about simply how dire the scenario was, however there have been some harrowing days throughout his preliminary hospital keep, as docs struggled to get his sepsis below management and thought of amputation.
Dec. 16, 2018: ‘HOME’
In mid-December, Smith lastly returned dwelling. His spouse, Elizabeth, shared the information on Instagram.
“HOME … This final month has been a troublesome trip,” she wrote beneath a photograph of her husband giving a thumbs-up in entrance of a Christmas tree, his legs coated by a blanket.
Jan. 21, 2019: Smith attends a Wizards recreation
In his first public look since his surgical procedure, Smith was noticed at a Wizards recreation with crutches and a cumbersome steel exterior fixator surrounding his closely bandaged decrease proper leg.
Feb. 10, 2019: Smith meets with fight veterans
Lower than three months after his damage, Smith traveled to the Heart for the Intrepid, a army rehabilitation facility in San Antonio, to fulfill with veterans. Smith’s medical group, together with head Washington group doctor Robin West, acquired clearance from the workplace of the secretary of protection for Smith to obtain session from the army whereas he was there.
“And unexpectedly it was like a hearth was lit,” West recalled. “We spent the day there, and as we had been strolling out [Alex] grabbed me and stated, ‘Hey, Dr. West, when are you going to clear me to play soccer?’ And that was the primary time he had ever talked about it.”
Might 23, 2019: ‘Slowly however absolutely’
Throughout a session of organized group actions that was closed to the media, the group tweeted a photograph of Smith, cropped above the knee, throwing a go. Washington had drafted quarterback Dwayne Haskins to be their long-term reply at QB with the No. 15 general decide a month earlier.
“He’s recovering properly, slowly however absolutely,” Gruden stated of Smith in June.
June 21, 2019: Smith says he plans to play once more
“I received to beat some extra steps earlier than I get there, however yeah,” Smith told Fox 5, when requested whether or not he would play soccer once more in his first interview for the reason that damage.
July 15, 2019: Exterior fixator comes off
“We’re shedding the burden Alex has been carrying (actually and figuratively),” Elizabeth wrote on Instagram. “It’s one step nearer to the objective. The resilience, willpower and psychological fortitude of this man is unmatched.”
Sept. 23, 2019: Again at FedEx Discipline
Earlier than Washington’s “Monday Night time Soccer” recreation in opposition to the Bears, Smith, who spent all the 2019 season on injured reserve, walked with out help on the FedEx Discipline turf.
Dec. 30, 2019: Smith places entrance workplace hypothesis to relaxation
As his teammates cleaned out their lockers on the finish of a 3-13 season, Smith dispelled the concept he was in line for a front-office place.
“I really like all of the rumor mill and all of the stuff that circulates on the market,” Smith stated. “Like I stated, my focus is to get on the market and play once more. I’ve no aspirations apart from getting on the sector and enjoying soccer once more.”
Feb. 1, 2020: Smith particulars post-surgery expertise for first time
In an interview with ESPN’s “Exterior the Traces,” Smith revealed that he was at risk of dying and needed to ask docs to not amputate as soon as his an infection was below management.
“Very a lot fortunate to be alive, very fortunate to nonetheless have my leg,” Smith stated.
Might 1, 2020: “Venture 11” premieres
In “Venture 11,” ESPN’s Stephania Bell gave viewers an in-depth have a look at Smith’s restoration. The documentary featured graphic pictures of Smith’s contaminated leg at varied levels of the debridement course of to take away useless pores and skin and tissue.
“There’s no strategy to inform his story and have it actually have the identical affect with out seeing what occurred to his leg,” Bell stated. “ … When he stated he got here near shedding his life, that was no exaggeration.”
Aug. 16, 2020: Smith is cleared for soccer exercise
Sooner or later after Smith’s household doused him with champagne in an Instagram video shared by Elizabeth, Washington activated the quarterback from the bodily unable to carry out (PUP) record forward of the padded portion of coaching camp. Unable to elevate up his proper foot when he walks or runs, Smith took the sector with a sleeve and a particular brace on his decrease proper leg.
Sept. 5, 2020: Smith earns a spot on the roster
When Washington launched its first 53-man roster on the finish of coaching camp, Smith was on it.
“You guys didn’t get to see it, however we threw him proper in the course of the hearth the final two days of observe,” Washington Coach Ron Rivera stated on lower day. “He dealt with all of the 11-on-11 drills for the backups and for the observe group stuff. [He] received proper in the course of it.”
Oct. 11, 2020: A ‘very surreal’ return
After a Jalen Ramsey hit sidelined beginning quarterback Kyle Allen late within the second quarter of Washington’s dwelling recreation in opposition to the Rams, Smith entered the sport. Together with his household wanting on from the stands, Smith accomplished his first go, 693 days since he was carted off the identical area.
Three performs into his opening drive, Rams defensive finish Aaron Donald jumped on Smith’s again and introduced him to the bottom, one among six sacks Smith would endure on the day.
“Clearly very surreal at first,” Smith stated after finishing 9 of 17 passes for 37 yards in Washington’s 30-10 loss. “To have it occur as quick because it did was in all probability nearly a blessing.”
Nov. 8, 2020: Kyle Allen goes down
Allen suffered a season-ending ankle damage within the first quarter of Washington’s 23-20 loss to the New York Giants at FedEx Discipline. After the sport, Rivera introduced that Smith, who threw three interceptions in aid of Allen, would begin the next week at Detroit.
Nov. 15, 2020: Smith airs it out in loss
Making his first begin in practically two years, Smith set new career-highs in completions (38), passing makes an attempt (55) and passing yards (390) in a loss to the Lions.
“I feel that the scary half was how regular it felt,” Smith stated. “It felt actually good; it felt actually regular and slightly little bit of I received to pinch myself of how fortunate I’m to really feel that approach.”
Nov. 22, 2020: In the end, a win
Smith solely threw for 166 yards, however he earned his first win since his damage after Washington got here again to beat the Bengals at dwelling.
“One other step, one other factor I by no means thought I’d be doing once more,” stated Smith.
Dec. 13, 2020: Smith leaves recreation with calf soreness
Smith exited Washington’s 23-15 win over the 49ers late within the first half with calf soreness in his surgically repaired leg and didn’t return. He would miss Washington’s subsequent two video games, which resulted in losses that arrange a must-win situation within the common season finale.
Jan. 3, 2020: WFT clinches division title
Hours earlier than Washington took the sector in Philadelphia, Elizabeth shared a photograph of her husband’s exterior fixator, which she had an artist rebuild within the form of the Lombardi Trophy as a Christmas present.
Smith’s calf bothered him in opposition to the Eagles, however he threw a pair of landing passes in a 20-14 win that clinched the NFC East title. Subsequent up: a first-round playoff recreation in opposition to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.