Alex Smith was having a pretty good first year in Washington. After being traded in the offseason from the Kansas City Chiefs, the veteran quarterback led his new team to a 6-3 record, good enough for first place in the NFC East. If Washington is to continue its playoff hunt, however, it will likely have to be without Smith, who suffered a horrendous leg injury on Sunday against the Houston Texans.
As two Texans defenders swarmed Smith for a sack in the third quarter, the quarterback’s right leg twisted and appeared to snap beneath him. The footage is gruesome, so click through this link and watch at your own discretion.
It’s unclear exactly where on Smith’s leg the injury occurred, but the medical staff put him in an air cast and called for a cart to carry him off the field.
Any time an athlete suffers a viscerally upsetting leg injury on live television, Joe Theismann’s name comes up. The former Washington quarterback fractured his tibia and fibula on Monday Night Football in 1985, and the broadcast’s slow-motion replays of the career-ending injury seared it into memory for millions of viewers. It was on the mind of Theismann himself, and the elder Washington quarterback tweeted about it shortly after Smith went down.
In a bizarre coincidence, Smith’s leg injury came 33 years to the day after Theismann’s. Nov. 18 is a wretched day for quarterbacks in Washington, D.C.
UPDATE, November 18: Theismann was eerily correct about the similarities between his and Alex Smith’s injuries. The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports Smith suffered a broken tibia and fibula.