Jaylon Smith's Nerve Damage Reportedly Has Not Seen a 'Significant Change'March 1, 2017
More than one year since suffering a major knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith has reportedly not made noteworthy progress with regard to his nerve damage.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, sources indicated there has been "no significant change" in impacted nerves.
Rapoport added Smith will likely become the first player to wear a brace for his drop foot, and the Cowboys are expected to allow him to play despite his nerve not firing.
Smith missed the 2016 season after the Cowboys selected him in the second round (No. 34) of the NFL draft.
Despite the nerve situation, Cowboys Director of Player Personnel Stephen Jones expressed confidence Tuesday that Smith can be a difference-maker in 2017, per Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News:
Smith won the Dick Butkus Award as college football's best linebacker at Notre Dame in 2015, and he would have been a high first-round pick if not for the injury.
As seen in this video courtesy of AWP Sports, Smith is beginning to show some of his trademark burst after more than a year on the shelf:
With linebacker Rolando McClain suspended for another full year, Smith's potential return would fill a major area of need for the Cowboys.
Dallas' defense was a surprise in 2016, ranking fifth in points allowed. If Smith becomes a contributor next season, the Cowboys could close the gap between their defense and dynamic offense even more.