This article is part of our Injury Analysis series.
The Washington quarterback saw his season end over the weekend when he suffered a gruesome leg fracture. The injury occurred when Smith's leg became trapped under his body as he was taken down by Houston's J.J. Watt and Kareem Jackson. The violent force broke the two lower leg bones, the tibia and fibula. Smith was placed in an aircast and taken off the field before heading to the hospital for emergency surgery.
More details emerged following the procedure, including more details about the break itself. Reports indicate the fracture was a compound fracture, meaning the fractured bone broke through the surrounding soft tissue. The nature of the fracture was also revealed, as additional reports classify the fracture as a spiral fracture. Both details will influence Smith's impending recovery, though this should not be perceived as a career-ending injury.
The first potential concern will be infection. Compound or open fractures are much more likely to develop osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone that stunts the healing process. Fortunately, this risk should be diminished by the fast response of the medical team on the field and his quick entry into the operating room.
The next area of focus will be the associated soft tissue damage. At least one of Smith's lower leg bones pierced the skin and the extent of the damage to the skin and muscle must be determined. This problem will require additional treatment that would be amplified if any neighboring nerves were also damaged. Nerve injuries