Joe Theismann: Alex Smith 'Has Gone Through a Lot More' Than Me with Leg Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2020

Joe Theismann walks off the 18th green after making a putt during the final round of the Tournament of Champions LPGA golf tournament Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Former Washington Football Team quarterback Joe Theismann reflected on Alex Smith's fractured tibia and fibula recently, calling upon his own experience with a gruesome leg injury.

Theismann explained to ESPN's John Keim that Smith's road to recovery was far more arduous than what he faced in 1985:

"He has gone through a lot more than I had to go through. For me it was a question of the leg healing and then trying to do certain things required of the quarterback position. Alex came within 24 hours of losing his leg. I didn't wind up with complications; he wound up with a tremendous amount of complications. It wasn't just healing from a broken leg. The mountain he had to climb is so much greater."

Theismann went on to argue Smith is already the most deserving candidate for Comeback Player of the Year in 2020.

Theismann's NFL career effectively ended Nov. 18, 1985, when he suffered a compound fracture after getting sacked by Lawrence Taylor. Keim noted the now-70-year-old attempted to return in 1986 but never played in another game.

Smith, on the other hand, has been working out with Washington this offseason with the hope of getting back on the field.

Simply getting to that point is impressive for the three-time Pro Bowler since he required 17 surgeries while recovering from his leg injury. His rehab was the focus of an E60 special, Project 11 (warning: video contains images that may be disturbing to some viewers):

E60 @E60

When @Redskins QB Alex Smith broke his leg in 2018, no one thought it would take 17 surgeries to fix. Here’s a look at #Project11 https://t.co/lwcj1l0fV6

His wife, Elizabeth, explained to ESPN's Stephania Bell that his leg had become infected in the days after he was initially injured. The infection spread to the point that a doctor raised amputating a portion of his leg above the knee as one option. Instead, Smith opted for muscle transfer surgery.

Smith might be back to full health, but he still faces somewhat long odds of lining up under center for Washington again.

The team selected Dwayne Haskins in the first round of the 2019 draft to be the franchise quarterback. Haskins made seven starts as a rookie and will presumably be the starter for Week 1 this year.

Washington also acquired Kyle Allen from the Carolina Panthers this offseason to bolster the team's QB depth.