Alex Smith, like Joe Theismann before him, could see career end on terrible leg injury

The parallels between the injuries to Washington Redskins quarterbacks Joe Theismann and Alex Smith were strange. The injuries happened on the same day, 33 years apart. Theismann was in attendance for Smith’s injury. The final score of both games was 23-21.

Another scary possible connection: Theismann’s injury ended his career, and a report said the same could happen to Smith.

Theismann never played again after Lawrence Taylor’s sack in 1985 broke his leg. ESPN’s Adam Schefter said there’s optimism about Smith’s return to the playing field, which also means there’s a serious question about whether he’ll make it back.

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Redskins QB Alex Smith suffers horrifying leg injury
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Redskins QB Alex Smith suffers horrifying leg injury
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 18: Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11), center, is sacked and injured by Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99), right, Houston Texans strong safety Kareem Jackson (25) during a game between the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans at FedEX Field on November 18, 2018, in Landover, MD. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11) ankle is injured as he is sacked by Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) and Houston Texans strong safety Kareem Jackson (25) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018 in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 18: PLEASE CLEAR USE OF THIS IMAGE WITH A PHOTO EDITOR OR MATT VITA OF MATT RENNIE. Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11), center, is sacked and injured by Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99), right, Houston Texans strong safety Kareem Jackson (25) during a game between the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans at FedEX Field on November 18, 2018, in Landover, MD. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith, bottom, slides under Houston Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph (24) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 18: Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11) reacts to an injury in the third quarter during a game between the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans at FedEX Field on November 18, 2018, in Landover, MD. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 18: Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson (26) grimaces as he checks on Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11) as he lays injured on the turf in the third quarter of the game between the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans at FedEx Field on, November 18, 2018. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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)
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 18: Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11) is lifted up to be carted off the field in a game between the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans at FedEx Field on, November 18, 2018. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Houston Texans strong safety Kareem Jackson (25) reaches for Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11) as he leaves the field after an injury during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018 in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 18: Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11) is carted off the field in the third quarter at FedEx Field after a bad injury. (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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Alex Smith suffered a massive injury

Smith broke his tibia and fibula, and suffered a compound fracture on a sack against the Houston Texans. The injury was so bad, CBS refused to show any more replays after it played once during the game broadcast.

Smith, like Theismann at the time of his injury, is in his mid-30s. He’ll turn 35 before next season. Smith is in great shape, and that’s going to help him. But, as Schefter wrote, his return to football is “not a certainty.” 

Theismann retired in July of 1986 after he failed to pass a physical.

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Joe Theismann suffers broken leg: November 18, 1985
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Joe Theismann suffers broken leg: November 18, 1985
Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann lies on the ground after being injured on the second play of the second quarter during their game with the New York Giants Monday night Nov 19, 1985 in Washington. Theismann suffered a compound fracture of the lower right leg on the play. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 18: Curtis Jordan (22) weeps over Joe Theismann, lying prone after a sack by Lawrence Taylor resulted in his season ending broken leg. (Photo by Harry Hamburg/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Quarterback Joe Theismann of the Washington Redskins is carted off the field by medical staff after having his leg broken by Giants defensive end Lawrence Taylor in a 21 to 23 overtime win over the New York Giants on November 18, 1985 at RFK Stadium in Washington DC. (Photo by Nate Fine/Getty Images)
Quarterback Joe Theismann of the Washington Redskins is carted off the field by medical staff after having his leg broken by Giants defensive end Lawrence Taylor (56) in a 21 to 23 overtime win over the New York Giants on November 18, 1985 at RFK Stadium in Washington DC. (Photo by Nate Fine/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 18: Quarterback Joe Theismann #7 of the Washington Redskins is helped by teammate Mark May #73 and others after being injured when sacked by linebacker Lawrence Taylor #56 of the New York Giants during a Monday Night Football game at RFK Stadium on November 18, 1985 in Washington, DC. Theismann suffered a broken leg. Talking with Taylor is defensive lineman Leonard Marshall. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
Quarterback Joe Theismann of the Washington Redskins is carted off the field by medical staff after having his leg broken by Giants defensive end Lawrence Taylor in a 21 to 23 overtime win over the New York Giants on November 18, 1985 at RFK Stadium in Washington DC. (Photo by Nate Fine/Getty Images)
Quarterback Joe Theismann of the Washington Redskins is carted off the field by medical staff after having his leg broken by Giants defensive end Lawrence Taylor (56) in a 21 to 23 overtime win over the New York Giants on November 18, 1985 at RFK Stadium in Washington DC. (Photo by Nate Fine/Getty Images)
Quarterback Joe Theismann of the Washington Redskins is carted off the field by medical staff after having his leg broken by Giants defensive end Lawrence Taylor in a 21 to 23 overtime win over the New York Giants on November 18, 1985 at RFK Stadium in Washington DC. (Photo by Nate Fine/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON DC - NOVEMBER 18, 1985: Quarterback Joe Theismann #7 of the Washington Redskins is taken off of the field after he was injured suffering from a comminuted compound fracture of his right leg while being sacked by New York Giants linebackers Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson on November 18, 1985 at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. Theismann played for the Redskins from 1974-85. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)
Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann gestures as he is carried off the field at R.F.K. Stadium Monday night Nov. 18, 1985 in Washington. Theismann injured his right leg during second quarter action. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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Smith’s contract puts Redskins in a tough spot

The Redskins put a six to eight month timetable on Smith’s recovery. There was no ligament damage, which helps.

It’s a tough spot for the Redskins, too. Smith was in the first year of a contract that reportedly gave him $71 million guaranteed, according to Spotrac. Washington can’t just get out of the deal right away.

It’ll be a nervous offseason for Washington and Smith. Nobody wants to see Smith’s career end that way, but he faces a long road back.

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Frank Schwabis a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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