Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith came very close to losing his right leg. After being taken down in an awkward fashion on Nov. 18, 2018 during a matchup against the Houston Texans, Smith suffered a compound fracture of his right tibia and a fractured right fibula. In a new interview with ESPN's Outside The Lines, Smith revealed that not only did he almost lose his leg, he's actually "very much lucky to be alive."
Soon after the injury, reports surfaced that Smith was having severe complications after his initial surgery. It appeared more and more likely that he was going to lose his leg. The Washington Times later reported that Smith underwent.
"I had a pretty serious infection ... they had a lot of complications with it," Smith said.
Smith then developed sepsis, which is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the body is fighting infection. He told Jeremy Schaap that his memories during those stages of uncertainty were limited since he was under heavy sedation, but he does remember making the decision to try to save his leg.
"The next thing I remember is waking up several weeks later faced with the decision of amputation or limb salvage at that point."
The decision to save his leg required more procedures, and he was eventually cleared of all infection. Smith was then placed in an external fixator, which he was attached to for several months.
"I got this crazy contraption that nobody's ever seen before on my leg that comes from Siberia," Smith said during his first public interview with Angie Goff last June. "Believe it or not, this thing is going to save my leg, save my bone, allow me to heal, walk again and hopefully play football again."
The past 13 months have been spent in rehab, but Smith has a renewed spirit after almost losing it all. While it may be a long shot, Smith has never wavered in his desire to return to the field.
"There's enough there that I can go out there and play," said Smith. "Knowing that, yeah, failure is a possibility ... I need to prove that I can come back and play quarterback in the NFL, and if I can do that, that would be great and it'll get figured out."
The former No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft led the Redskins to a 6-3 record before he suffered his leg injury. Colt McCoy was unable to will Washington to victory against the Texans after Smith went down, and the Redskins would lose five out of their last six games to close out the 2018 season. The Redskins were actually in first place in the NFC East with Smith under center, but once he went down, Washington fell apart. The Redskins went 3-13 in 2019 and head coach Jay Gruden was fired during the season.
With new head coach Ron Rivera and quarterback Dwayne Haskins, there is some hope for the future, but it remains to be seen where Smith fits in, and if he will be able to return to the field at some point.