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Alex Smith Undergoes Surgery on Leg Injury; Not Believed to Be Career-Ending

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 19, 2018

Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith, bottom, reacts after an injury during the second half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)
Mark Tenally/Associated Press

Washington quarterback Alex Smith's leg injury is not believed to be career-threatening after he underwent surgery on a broken tibia and fibula suffered in Sunday's loss to the Houston Texans.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the news and that the team plans to start Colt McCoy for the remainder of the 2018 season. ESPN's Adam Schefter provided the gory details of Smith's injury:

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Alex Smith suffered a compound fracture - meaning the bone broke through his skin, per source. Trauma surgeons discovered Smith suffered a spiral fracture in his leg - defined as a long bone broken by a rotational force. Smith, 34, faces a lengthy rehab process to try to return.

Smith suffered the horrific injury on the 33-year anniversary of Joe Theismann's career-ender on a similar-looking play.

"When you have an injury like that, it's more heartbreaking than it is physical," Washington head coach Jay Gruden told reporters. "Just breaks your heart because this is what he loves to do. He loves to lead this team, he loves to be with his guys and now the season is over, and he has a long way back."

Washington acquired Smith this offseason in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs and signed him to a four-year, $94 million contract extension. His deal essentially guarantees he'll be in Washington for at least the next two seasons. 

Smith had performed like a below-average NFL starting quarterback before the injury. He threw for 2,180 yards and 10 touchdowns against five interceptions, struggling to move the ball down the field. Football Outsiders ranked him as the 23rd-best quarterback coming into this week. 

Washington nevertheless sits 6-4 thanks in part to Smith's ability to take care of the football. The team's turnover differential is tied for second in the NFL.

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McCoy has a 7-18 record as a starter during his career. The team plans on signing Mark Sanchez to be the new backup quarterback, according to ESPN's Field Yates.  

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