Redskins don't expect Alex Smith to play at all next season after gruesome leg injury

The Washington Redskins don’t believe that quarterback Alex Smith will return to the field next season.

Smith suffered a gruesome leg injury in a Week 11 loss to the Houston Texans. He had to be carted off, and underwent surgery for a broken right tibia and fibula right after the game. He then had complications from an infection, and was hospitalized for several weeks.

While he rehabs his leg during the offseason, the Redskins are not expecting him to be ready to play in 2019 and have started making other plans, the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Sunday. If he is able to play, the Redskins will be “pleasantly surprised.”

Smith made a public appearance last week at a Washington Wizards game, his first since he was released from the hospital. He was seen, however, in a bulky and complicated cast, confirming the severity of the injury and infections that followed.

While many have speculated that the injury will end up being career-ending for the 34-year-old, team president Bruce Allen said last week that he is “optimistic” that Smith will play again.

“He’s moving around and well on his way to a recovery,” Allen said, via the NFL Network. “It’s a tough thing for him and his family. All the love and care has helped him quite a bit.

“We’ll see how it goes. We’re optimistic. If anyone can come back, it’s Alex.”

The Redskins’ attempts to replace Smith last fall failed miserably. They first went with backup quarterback Colt McCoy, however he broke his leg against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 13. The team then turned to Mark Sanchez briefly, before going with Josh Johnson to finish out the year. Johnson had not played in an NFL game since 2013 before he took the field for Washington in Week 14.

Allen, though, did not confirm whether they would be adding a quarterback to their roster during the offseason.

“We prioritize every position on the team,” Allen told the NFL Network last week. “And we’ll see what we get in free agency and the draft.”

Smith threw for 2,180 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, his 13th in the NFL. He signed a four-year, $94 million extension with the Redskins last March.

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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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