Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Cowboys rookie LB Jaylon Smith won’t return this season or even practice with the team, despite being activated from the non-football injury list earlier in the week.
According to Rapoport, Dallas decided to keep their options open with Smith, who’s coming off of a really serious knee injury that included some nerve damage.
Rapoport says that the nerve damage to Smith’s knee “means no one actually knows when he’ll return to the field.”
A source tells Rapoport that Smith is still waiting for his nerve to “fire” or return to normal. The source added: “We don’t know when it will.”
The good news, however, is that Smith hasn’t sustained a setback to his knee and he’s continuing to work through his rehab.
“We’re very pleased with where he is right now with his strength and all the other things,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said earlier this week. “We’re just hoping to see it continue to improve. But nobody knows, no medical people, know when that might occur.”
Smith, 20, was taken with the No. 34 overall pick by the Cowboys a few weeks ago. So much was made about the condition of Smith’s knee and how it could impact his NFL career, but the Cowboys still felt comfortable enough about his future to use their second-round pick on him.
Before he suffered the serious knee injury at end of last year, Smith was considered a to be a top-five selection, so if he’s able to return to form, the Cowboys could be looking at a blue-chip player in the middle of their defense for years to come.
According to OverTheCap.com, Smith signed a four-year contract worth $6,494,972 to go along with a signing bonus of $2,923,616.
During his college career at Notre Dame, Smith recorded 284 tackles, 23.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, three recoveries and 10 pass defenses for the Fighting Irish over the course of three years.
We’ll have more regarding Smith and the Cowboys as the news is available.