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"They pulled a piece of dirty sock out from inside his leg."

The debut of "Project 11" featuring Alex Smith of the Washington Redskins recovery from a gruesome leg injury is here. ESPN's Stephania Bell chronicled it. She spoke with

Everyone that is a Redskins fan knows what happened on Sunday November 18th at FedExField in the midst of a loss to the Houston Texans that meant absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. 

Alex Smith suffered a tibia fracture and a compound wound fracture while being sacked by J.J. Watt and others from the Texans. 

The details are still gruesome. They always will be. The comeback, while far from complete comes into your living room Friday night on ESPN in the debut of "Project 11" at 7:30 ET available on all platforms. 

Stephania Bell of ESPN, their injury analyst and long time contributor spent 15 or so months off-and-on with Smith and his family, chronicling this horrific injury  with special access and details. 

I was able to speak with Bell via phone  on Thursday which you can hear right here via my "Locked on Redskins" podcast. 

For those that listened (and I appreciate you doing that) - the most startling part of many that Bell explained for us was what trauma surgeons found in Smith's leg upon performing surgery. 

"When they did surgery, they pulled a piece of dirty sock out from inside his leg," Bell explained. 

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Maybe that was to be expected considering football players wear long, athletic socks over their lower leg and it was a compound wound, but that quote from Bell hit me hard and should illustrate one of the very real and graphic images from the injury. 

Bell believes the injury is the worst she's ever seen, detailing a trip to San Antonio to a military medical center "because the injury was so different, from a typical sports injury, it was far more like a military blast injury, the trauma that he suffered to his leg."

"Nothing was spared," Bell says when it came to Smith's medical care. 

After all this time - could he still return to the NFL?

"It certainly won't be me that says it's not possible for him to return."

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Chris Russell is the Publisher of & Sports Illustrated's Washington Redskins channel. He can be heard on 106.7 The FAN in the Washington D.C. area and world-wide on Chris also hosts the "Locked on Redskins" Podcast and can be read via subscription to Warpath Magazine. You can e-mail Chris at or follow him on Twitter at @Russellmania621.