'Positive sign': Rivera reflects on Smith's encouraging Thursday originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
In the past few weeks, even as the quarterback missed two consecutive contests, both Alex Smith and Ron Rivera remained sanguine about Smith's health.
On Thursday, there was finally some evidence to justify their optimism.
During the portion of the practice that was open to the media, Smith was the most involved that he's been since he initially suffered his calf injury in Week 14. He stretched with the rest of the players, took the first-team reps with the offense in an early period and went through individual drills, throwing passes to his wideouts.
Hello Alex! (Throwing edition) pic.twitter.com/gb9sSzOWCa
— Pete Hailey (@PeteHaileyNBCS) December 31, 2020
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According to Rivera, Smith continued his level of activity once reporters were dismissed, and in his presser, the coach elaborated on what he noticed about the vital veteran's progress.
"His movement, it was much, much more fluid," Rivera told the media. "That was good to see. I thought he handled it well."
In what's becoming one of his favorite things to point out, Washington's leader made sure to emphasize that how Smith feels on Friday matters more than what he accomplished on Thursday. Per Rivera, that's the key, because it will give decision makers an idea of how Smith's leg will respond if he does indeed suit up this weekend.
Until that update is provided, though, it's OK to draw a bit of invigoration from this development. It's not like Smith was out there in Ashburn dodging tackles and organizing a 12-play drive, but he did take a necessary step toward returning, which absolutely beats what's happened before the last couple of matchups.
"I think it was a step in the right direction," Rivera said. "It was a plus. It was a positive sign today."