Most have thought Cowboys rookie linebacker Jaylon Smith would take a “redshirt” season in rehabbing from a severe knee injury sustained in his final college game.
But owner Jerry Jones hasn’t given up hope that Smith may be able to get back on the field at some point this season.
The question of Smith returning came up after Smith posted on his Twitter account (@thejaylonsmith) Monday: “Oh Lord, Thankyou” with a praying hands emoji.
Jones addressed Smith’s status during his weekly radio show Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan.
“We are waiting,” Jones said. “He’s in great shape, great rehab shape with his knee. So we’re just trying to hope that he wakes up a nerve, a nerve re-firing or a regeneration of a nerve, is just that. It’s like a foot that’s gone to sleep and shaking it till it wakes up is how I picture it to some degree.
“I’m not ruling out the fact that he could get on the field this year.”
Smith, 21, tore two ligaments – his ACL and MCL – and sustained nerve damage in his left knee last January in the Fiesta Bowl. Still, the Cowboys used their second-round pick on the Notre Dame product, knowing he faced a long recovery road before he could make an impact on the field.
The Cowboys placed Smith on the reserve/ non-football injury list before the season, meaning he wouldn’t be eligible to return for at least the first six weeks of the season.
The earliest Smith could return to practice is Oct. 17, and the Cowboys would have to make a decision whether to activate him to the 53-man roster or move him to injured reserve by Nov. 28.
The Nov. 28 date falls after the Thanksgiving Day game, and the Cowboys would have five regular-season games left after that in which Smith could play.