During the first half of Monday night’s eventual win over Washington, Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith seemed a bit hobbled. As it turns out, Smith has an ankle injury.
The injury has appeared on the team’s practice report each of the last two days; however, Smith has been listed as a full participant in both practices.
Smith’s participation level suggests it won’t be a problem for the short-week Sunday night game against the Texans. But his playing style could be a problem, since it could lead to more injuries.
With young, mobile quarterbacks, a constant concern arises regarding the player’s ability to keep himself healthy by sliding, running out of bounds, or otherwise going where the opponents aren’t. On Monday night alone, Smith (who is mobile but far from young) was diving head first and, at one point, throwing a shoulder into a defensive back.
The risk for Smith goes beyond the damage his body may take. Every shot of rookie Patrick Mahomes standing on the sideline with his arms crossed exudes not necessarily impatience by a degree of eagerness to show what he can do, especially with quarterback Deshaun Watson (taken two spots after Mahomes) playing better and better with each passing game.
If Smith misses even one game, Mahomes will get the chance to do to Smith in 2017 what Colin Kaepernick did to Smith five years ago in San Francisco, taking the job, leading the team to the Super Bowl, and nearly winning it. So Smith would be wise to do whatever he has to do to keep himself on the field for as much of the season as possible.