Dallas Cowboys draft pick Jaylon Smith is slowly healing from a severe knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl. Photo via @thejaylonsmith/Twitter
When the Dallas Cowboys drafted Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith, they knew there'd be a good chance he would not play this season after injuring his knee.
Smith suffered a devastating knee injury during his final college game at Notre Dame. Smith tore his ACL and LCL during the Jan. 1 Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State. The injuries created nerve damage in his knee and ankle. Prior to the injury, Smith was viewed as a top-10 pick.
Even though Smith is likely to miss this season, owner and general manager Jerry Jones has said the Cowboys would not place him on injured reserve in hopes he could return by the end of the year.
On Tuesday, Jones offered an update on Smith.
"His progress is really undetermined," Jones said Tuesday morning on KRLD-FM, as transcribed by The Dallas Morning News. "But that was to be expected. He is not off plan at all. The rejuvenation of the nerve that would help him get in position to actually hit the playing field is not complete, but it is not behind. It was to be expected."
Smith was the Cowboys' second-round pick (No. 34 overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-2, 223-pound Smith signed a four-year contract, receiving a $2.9 million signing bonus as part of the $6.494 million deal based on the NFL's slotting system for rookies.
Smith, who turned 21 in June, led Notre Dame with 113 tackles last season and won the Butkus Award as the nation's best linebacker.
He also had nine tackles for loss and five pass breakups.
"It's the type of thing that could really come around, and if it comes around then we'll take advantage of it. He's such an impact player that we would try to get him on the field," Jones said. "In the meantime, he's doing many things that would let you use the word progress. And of course he has unbelievable work ethic and resolve to help the team."