The word most people used when describing Alex Smith’s 2018 leg injury is “devastating.”
And an expert is describing what just happened to Tiger Woods as something even worse.
"One of the complicating factors is the time Tiger was in the car before being removed,'' Ryan tells NBC's Peter King, reflecting on last week's one-car crash involving the golf legend. "This is, in my opinion, worse than Alex Smith’s.”
Continued Ryan: “Tiger suffered a ‘crush’ injury, not the kind of twisting injury with force Smith suffered. Smith had a compound fracture of his lower tibia and fibula, just above the ankle. Woods has compound multiple open fractures of both the upper shin and the lower shin, with the skin broken, plus foot and ankle fractures as well.
“From an orthopedic review, Tiger’s is a far more complicated scenario.”
Ryan notes that in the case of Alex Smith, “you’re dealing with team orthopedic surgeons who are among the best in the world at what they do. In this case, Tiger’s taken to a trauma center with no control over who is taking care of him. It’s an emergency.
“It’s just different when it’s an orchestrated situation with head athletic trainers, team doctors and agents hand-selecting an elite sports physician.”
Smith, of course, is not destined to be with the WFT going forward; we knew that. And it's hoped that his GQ comments about his Washington experience don't taint what was, overall, a marvelous story. (See below.)
But the injury issue takes on a bigger-picture tone when put in a Tiger-sized frame.
While Smith’s NFL return this season is so notable that the QB won Comeback Player of the Year, Ryan thinks a similar Woods return is unlikely.
Said Ryan of Woods' future: "This will be a long and painful rehab. This is a challenge of a magnitude Tiger has never had to face. (A return to) pro golf, in a competitive manner? I’d say no.''