Jay Gruden: Redskins' Alex Smith 'Recovering Nicely' from Gruesome Leg Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 4, 2019

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 18: Alex Smith #11 of the Washington Redskins in action in the first half against the Houston Texans at FedExField on November 18, 2018 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith is "recovering nicely" from the broken tibia and fibula he suffered last November, Washington head coach Jay Gruden told reporters Tuesday.

According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, Gruden also said Smith could return to the field "sooner than people think."

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported in January that Washington was operating under the assumption Smith would miss the entire 2019 season. The team acquired Case Keenum from the Denver Broncos and selected Dwayne Haskins with the 15th pick of the 2019 draft.

Washington shared a glimpse into Smith's recovery when it posted a picture of him throwing a ball during OTAs in May:

Washington Redskins @Redskins

Alex Smith at day 3️⃣ of OTAs supporting his teammates. https://t.co/vompSPRgxY

Gruden referenced that photo, saying Smith can "play catch."

Pelissero provided an update from Washington's minicamp, reporting Keenum was earning positive reviews from his teammates:

NFL Network @nflnetwork

How is the @Redskins QB situation playing out? @TomPelissero has the latest from minicamp 👇 📺: Inside Minicamp LIVE https://t.co/NgsBZyWvTQ

Even if Smith makes a full recovery midway through the season, he won't be guaranteed to immediately resume starting duties.

Haskins is the long-term answer at quarterback, and his development is the team's top priority. If Keenum gets off to a slow start, the calls from fans to start Haskins will reach a fever pitch. Keenum could also outperform expectations and get Washington in the NFC playoff race.

In either scenario, moving Smith up in the depth chart would arguably be counterproductive in the middle of the year.