Geno Smith Injury: Updates on Jets Star's Jaw After Locker Room Fight

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured Columnist

Steve Mitchell/USA Today

Geno Smith's career with the New York Jets hit a snag when the quarterback underwent surgery in mid-August for a broken jaw suffered during a locker room fight with linebacker IK Enemkpali. The team expected him to miss the first four games of the regular season, but the Jets announced he was active for the team's matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 3.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is currently starting for the Jets, and Smith isn't guaranteed to reclaim the starting job this season if Fitzpatrick is playing at a high level, as Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported.

Continue for updates.


Smith Returns to Practice

Wednesday, Sept. 23

Seth Walder of the New York Daily News reported Smith had a full practice on Wednesday.

As the Jets prepared for their Week 1 matchup against the Cleveland Browns, Smith was at a Sept. 7 session with a helmet on doing light work with the quarterbacks, per Walder. Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday shared video of Smith from practice:

On Aug. 24, the Jets confirmed Smith's return to practice, noting he was in "a red no-contact jersey without a helmet."


Smith Comments on Injury, Enemkpali and Fitzpatrick

Thursday, Sept. 17

"I'm extremely [angry]," Smith said Wednesday, per MartinHe continued:

But I have to keep my temper down. I can't exhibit that in the locker room, I can't exhibit that on a daily basis. I just feel for my family more because they enjoy seeing me out there. ...

... You want to say, OK, it's Fitz's team? But that's kind of pinning me and him against each other. We're all in this thing together. It's a collective bond, and it was that way when I was projected the starter and when I got hurt it was that way. And right now it's the same way. ... 

... "Physically, I'm good," Smith said, adding that he has one more hurdle to clear: his final X-ray, which will be in "the next week or so . . . Emotionally, it's tough. But I've been getting good support in the locker room with the guys. Brandon [Marshall] has been one of the guys who's always been in my corner and he's been picking me up every day, if he sees me down. Cause it's natural to kind of get down. You want to play, you want to be out there. But he's keeping my spirits high and coach Bowles and Chan [Gailey], they put things in perspective for me. The key thing is, I've got to get healthy."

On Sept. 7, Smith refused to comment on the incident between himself and Enemkpali that resulted in his broken jaw but did say he would not press charges, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.

One reporter asked if Smith paid Enemkpali the money that started the fight, but the quarterback only replied, "Next question," per Mehta.

Smith also said there was a lesson to be learned from the situation, but when pressed on what that was, Smith would only say, "I'll keep that to myself," according to Dennis Waszak Jr. of the Associated Press.

When asked about the reaction of fans to news of the injury, Smith made light of his condition, saying, "Imagine how I felt," according to Mehta.


Jets' Cuts Spark Chatter About Smith's Return

Saturday, Sept. 5

"With Matt Flynn & Josh Johnson both gone, there's a growing sense Geno Smith might be healthy & ready to go sooner than initially expected," according to Mehta.

Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan previously said on Aug. 18 that Smith landing on short-term injured reserve is "a possibility" but "not likely," per Cimini.

Maccagnan added that he expects Smith to miss four games as he recovers, according Walder. He also noted that the quarterback will be joining the team for meetings "very soon," per Mehta.


Bowles Upset By Smith's Workout with Friend, QB Visits Team Facility

Sunday, Aug. 16

'I feel great. You see me throwin', right?' [Smith] told The Post, his speech slightly slurred by the swelling," wrote Amanda Lozado and Kathianne Boniello of the New York Post. "Get ready for me to come back."

Lozado and Boniello continued:

The Post spotted the Jets quarterback completing every pass Saturday during a game of catch with a buddy just two days after he underwent surgery to fix his jaw, which was busted by a teammate in a locker room brawl.

His cheeks swollen, Smith — who had a dismal 59.7 percent completion rate last season — bragged about his tossing talent in the parking lot of his apartment complex in Whippany, NJ.

Smith wouldn't comment about the fight with Enemkpali. When asked again, "he said politely, 'You’re on private property, and I’ve been nice, but I don’t want to call the cops on you.'"

After hearing of Smith's session, Bowles expressed his displeasure with the quarterback for working out so soon after surgery, adding the team "dealt with it internally," via Cimini.

The Jets also confirmed he was at the facility, via Cimini, as the quarterback was meeting with doctors and trainers. However, the team noted Smith was not there on a full-time basis after his surgery.


Smith Undergoes Jaw Surgery 

Thursday, Aug. 13

Smith stayed overnight at a hospital after jaw surgery, according to Cimini, who added while plates and screws were inserted, his jaw won't be wired shut. 

Dom Cosentino of New Jersey Advance Media originally reported on Aug. 11 Smith's injury would require surgery after an altercation in the locker room with Enemkpali, whom the team has since released.

ESPN's Adam Schefter provided details on what may have led to the altercation:

Schefter said Smith intended to pay Enemkpali back but just hadn't done it yet, according to sources.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported Smith was unable to attend the camp because he was accompanying his brother, who had broken his arm and ribs in a bike accident, to the hospital.

Mehta added more details to Smith's actions following the incident, saying "Smith got up from sitting down after getting punched and said, 'I'm not doing this here.' Then he walked out of locker room."

Conor Orr of NFL.com provided Enemkpali's statement:

Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports provided Bowles' full statement on the incident:

Mehta reported, per people close to the quarterback, that Smith may not be able to talk right now in order to give his side of the story. 

Smith took to Instagram to say "I'll be back" shortly after the news was announced.

Dennis Waszak Jr. of the Associated Press said, according to Bowles, Enemkpali was remorseful once he calmed down. Bowles also said it will be up to Smith to decide whether he wants to press charges, via Martin. 

"It takes one to throw a punch, but two to tango," Bowles said, via Mehta. Bowles indicated the quarterback did not retaliate after being punched, Josina Anderson of ESPN noted.

The Jets provided comments from cornerback Darrelle Revis, who said, "As a team, we've just got to stick together and move forward." Revis also said he holds both players involved responsible for the incident, according to Walder. "It's very shocking for this to happen at this time in training camp," Revis continued, per Mehta.

Smith had been able to stay healthy throughout his two-year NFL career. The coaching staff benched him in favor of Michael Vick for three starts in 2014, but the former West Virginia star has appeared in 30 of 32 games thus far. 

The Jets have taken steps to improve the quarterback position in 2015, trading for Fitzpatrick and picking Bryce Petty in the fourth round of this year's draft. Smith has shown glimpses of being a capable player, but he has been unable to put it all together. 

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