Alex Smith injury update: Redskins quarterback returns home, football future uncertain

After a long and trying month fighting infection that cropped up when he broke his leg, Redskins quarterback Alex Smith has returned home from the hospital, according to a post on social media from his wife. 

Smith, traded from the Chiefs to the Redskins this offseason, signed a huge extension following the deal and looked like he could be capable of leading the Redskins to a division title. Washington was 6-3 and in first place in the NFC East when Smith suffered a broken leg against the Texans, an injury that occurred 33 years to the day of Joe Theismann's broken leg for Washington.

The injury was essentially acknowledged as season-ending during the game: it was confirmed as much afterwards and there was a scary feeling around the Redskins that the broken leg could have even worse long-term complications. 

Fortunately it appears as if Smith is doing much better, although there should still be questions about his short- and long-term health prognosis. 

That's a good photo right? Although certainly anyone who sees it would notice Smith's legs are covered in a blanket -- that seems purposeful, although it is cold outside right now -- and the chair he's in appears to be a wheelchair. (Notice the metal sticking out of the blanket near his arm where he's holding the Redskins mug.) 

Nothing wrong with any of that; Smith's been in the hospital for a month, fighting off infection. His legs are probably weak and the hospital probably sent him home with instructions to rest and go through physical therapy. 

Here's the full update from Smith's wife and her Instagram caption:

HOME...This last month has been a difficult ride. Our family is beyond happy to have this man with us and home. This experience has given us great perspective and gratitude for all the people and blessings in our lives. We couldn't have gotten through it without our amazing family, friends and community. A special thank you to the relentless doctors, nurses, techs, hospital administrators, the Snyder family and the Washington Redskins.

Certainly it's exciting news for Smith to be healthy and home. But for the Redskins, there will be questions about his ability to play football moving forward. They signed him to a huge -- and, if you want to be technical, unnecessary -- contract extension this offseason. Smith is locked in to the roster for at least one more year: he would have a $42 million dead cap hit if the Redskins cut him before the 2019 season. If he was cut before the 2020 season he would save the Redskins only about $5 million in cap space. They could designate him a post-June 1 cut and save more/spread the hit out over multiple years as well, but the bottom line is Smith's contract isn't going to come off their cap any time soon. 

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It puts the Redskins in a precarious position for 2019, because it seems unlikely, with Smith carrying a $20 million cap hit, that they would go out and invest in another expensive quarterback. As they stagger down the stretch of the 2018 season, Washington has to know it's in a bad spot at the quarterback position if Smith can't get healthy enough to return to football.

But the good news is he's healthy enough to come home from the hospital. And that's much more important than the on-field aspect of anything right now. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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