- The Washington Times
Monday, July 15, 2019

Alex Smith had his surgically implanted external fixator removed Monday, eight months after the 35-year-old Washington Redskins quarterback suffered a horrific leg injury against the Houston Texans.

Smith’s wife, Elizabeth, revealed the news on Instagram.

The external fixator — a bracing device of outer rings with wires that pierced through Smith’s right leg — was used to stabilize the veteran quarterback’s broken fibula and tibia.

Since the November injury, Smith has undergone more than a half-dozen surgeries, as well as additional procedures to combat a post-op infection.

“The last (eight) months have been nothing short of crazy,” Elizabeth Smith said on Instagram. “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.”

Smith has been around the Redskins‘ facility periodically throughout the offseason. Last month, coach Jay Gruden said Smith is “recovering nicely” and the team’s Twitter account posted a photo of the former starter throwing a football.

Smith also addressed his injury for the first time last month in an interview with a local television station — telling them he plans to play football again.

“I’ve got to conquer some more steps before I get there,” Smith told Fox 5’s Angie Goff. “Learn to run again. That’s a big one. I’m already throwing. I already feel like throwing is not a problem. I feel like I can throw. But dropping, moving around, all that kind of stuff, change of direction.”

Smith said the first four months of his injury were “really, really hard.” He detailed how he was able to make progress, going from being in a wheelchair to playing with his kids, driving and even golfing.

The Redskins have consistently insisted they aren’t putting any timeline on Smith’s recovery, nor are they are expecting the quarterback to do anything other than attack his rehab in the months ahead.

This offseason, Washington drafted first-rounder Dwayne Haskins out of Ohio State and traded for veteran Case Keenum to help address the team’s needs at the position. Haskins, Keenum and Colt McCoy are competing to determine who will start under center next season.

Smith carries a cap hit of $20.4 million in 2019. He will also officially begin the four-year, $94 million ($71 million guaranteed for injury) contract extension he signed when traded to Washington in March 2018.

Before he went down last season, Smith was still finding his way with the Redskins. Though his numbers weren’t overly impressive — throwing for 2,180 yards and 10 touchdowns in 10 games — the Redskins valued Smith’s instincts for protecting the football. The Redskins jumped out to a 6-3 record thanks to a reliable running game, a sturdy defense and the ability to avoid turnovers.

After Smith’s injury, the Redskins, with McCoy, Mark Sanchez and Josh Johnson filling in, dropped six of seven (including a loss to the Texans) to finish 7-9 and miss the playoffs for the third straight year.

“I just feel like perhaps the thing that’s helped me the most with this is just trying to get through each day,” Smith told Fox 5. “It’s crazy, and it sucks what happened, but there are people out there who have it way worse. Stuff happens to everybody — life happens. I feel like this is just a time for me to obviously be tested, and have this challenge in front of me, to see how I handle it.”

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