Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith no longer is wearing the brace on his surgically repaired right leg, the next step in his comeback from a devastating injury suffered last November.
His wife, Elizabeth, announced the achievement on her Instagram account on Monday, saying he no longer was wearing the external fixator that was designed to keep his leg in place during his recovery from a compound fracture.
"The last 8 months have been nothing short of crazy," she wrote. "Although it's not over, today is a big milestone. We are shedding the weight Alex has been carrying (literally and figuratively). It's one step closer to the goal. The resilience, determination and mental fortitude of this man is unmatched."
Following the injury in the Nov. 18 loss to the Houston Texans, Smith underwent several surgeries to repair his broken tibia and fibula and then suffered from an infection and was hospitalized until Dec. 16.
The 35-year-old veteran told a Washington, D.C., reporter last month that he hasn't given up hope of playing again.
"That's the plan," Smith told Angie Goff on her Oh My Goff podcast. "There are steps I've got to conquer before I get there. ... Learning to run again. That's a big one. I'm already throwing. Throwing isn't a problem, but dropping, moving around, change of direction."
He said then that everyday events for most were milestones for him.
"The steps I'm at now are lifestyle steps," he said. "I'm still working on playing basketball with my kids and running around after my daughter. Those are things I have to conquer anyway until I get to the point where I'm walking on the field. I'm looking forward to it. I'm excited about that challenge. The stronger I get every week, the more I do, the more hopeful I am that that's a real possibility."
The Redskins acquired Smith from Kansas City before the 2018 season. He signed a four-year contract extension that put him under contract for five years and $111 million. It included $71 million in injury guarantees.
--Field Level Media