Smith, 36, suffered a devastating fracture of the tibia and fibula in his right leg during a game between the Washington Football Team and the Houston Texans in November 2018. Following the injury, his leg became infected. Doctors were not only unsure whether he would recover from the injury, but whether he would even survive.
Smith recently underwent a battery of tests that his medical team has now evaluated.
“Everyone was in agreement that my bone was in a really good place,” Smith told ESPN on Friday. “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.
“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.”
But this is just the first step. Like the rest of his Washington teammates, he will be tested for COVID-19 this weekend before reporting for his regular team physical on Monday.
“For me, all eyes are on practice,” Smith said. “That’s the next step. I have to go prove to myself and certainly to everybody else that I can go practice.”
Smith’s recovery was the subject of an ESPN documentary last spring. His Washington contract runs through 2022.