After making his debut in Dallas Cowboys training camp this week, the nerve damage suffered by linebacker Jaylon Smith is said to be 80 percent regenerated according to an unnamed source.
As the Dallas Cowboys kicked off training camp this week all eyes were on former 2016 second round selection, linebacker Jaylon Smith. Specifically, those eyes were focus on his left leg.
In January of 2016, Smith suffered a devastating knee injury during the Fiesta Bowl, a matchup between his Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Ohio State Buckeyes. A projected first round selection in the upcoming NFL Draft, Jaylon not only tore his ACL, but he also suffered significant damage to his peroneal nerve.
The injury dropped Smith out of the first round of NFL draft. He was swept up by the Cowboys with the 34th overall pick in the second round instead. Jaylon spent all of last season on the sidelines in Dallas, rehabilitating from his injury.
Working back slowly, Smith has been making steady steps towards getting back onto a football field. In the past few months, the nerve in his left knee has been slowly regenerating.
In April, it was reported Smith was finally able to flex his toes and lift his foot. Earlier this month, DallasCowboys.com reported the young defender was able to pull his little toe up and down, another great sign the nerve was improving. But no one knew exactly how much Smith’s nerve had grown and how much was needed to reach his full potential.
But according to one longtime NFL writer, an unnamed source told him that one final pre-training-camp test of Smith’s left leg showed the knee was fully healed (ACL) and the nerve was 80 percent regenerated.
"“To be clear, it’s too early to know if [Jaylon] Smith will be the impact guy Dallas drafted him to be,” wrote Peter King of the MMQB. “How can you know, when the team hasn’t seen Smith tackle a single player in 15 months? The left foot is certainly not all the way back. But assume the 80 percent nerve regeneration improves slightly in the next six weeks, between now and opening day against the Giants at home. Smith is close to being able to help this team now.”"
Jaylon Smith took part in training camp for the first time as a member of America’s Team this week. On Wednesday, he completed his first padded practice. And he looked good doing so. So far, so good for the former second rounder.
But the 22-year old’s road to full recovery is not a sprint to Week One, it’s a marathon with an entire professional career to consider. The Dallas Cowboys will continue to bring Jaylon Smith along slowly, taking things day-to-day.