ESPN documentary will show Alex Smith's injury and recovery is probably worse than you realize

Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith’s recovery from a horrible leg injury has been turned into an ESPN documentary. It won’t be easy to watch.

Smith suffered a horrendous leg injury in a 2018 game against the Houston Texans. His leg was pinned underneath him awkwardly and he suffered a compound fracture with the bone breaking the skin. The injury became infected, and Smith has undergone 17 surgeries on it since then. He said earlier this year he’s lucky to be alive.

Smith has to be included on any list of the worst football injuries we’ve ever seen, but he still is working toward a comeback. That’s why ESPN turned his story into a documentary, “Project 11,” which airs Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Alex Smith’s injury and recovery will be featured

The preview for the documentary had scenes of Smith working out, and at the end there’s a startling look at Smith’s leg as he describes the various surgeries he has endured.

This is something you might want to skip if you’re squeamish, though it gives an idea of exactly the horror Smith has endured.

The ESPN advance said doctors describe Smith’s injury as “warlike.” He suffered a football injury, but the video seems more like something from a military battlefield. ESPN’s release said there are scenes of Smith working out with veterans wounded in combat.

This documentary won’t be for everyone, but it will be an uncomfortable look into the dangers NFL players face every time they take the field.

Texans safety Kareem Jackson (25) reaches out in support of Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11) as he leaves the field after a devastating injury on Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)

Smith still trying to make a comeback

It seems like Smith allowing ESPN access to his recovery will bring to light the scope of the hardships he has endured over the past year and a half.

Smith has been mostly working out away from the spotlight, his story fading from NFL fans’ daily consciousness as time passes. Since Smith got hurt, Washington drafted quarterback Dwayne Haskins in the first round.

The former No. 1 overall pick himself, Smith will turn 36 on May 7. Although he was one of the NFL’s best-conditioned athletes, Smith returning to play again in the NFL seems unlikely. If he makes it back, it would be a phenomenal, inspiring story.

For anyone who has complained about an NFL player holding out or claimed that they’re just playing “a kid’s game,” the documentary on Smith’s injury should be required viewing, no matter how hard it is to watch.

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