A small laceration on his spleen suffered in last Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh will keep quarterback Alex Smith out of this weekend’s action against San Diego.
That was the announcement the Chiefs made on Friday after tests on Smith that were done Christmas Day showed the 3-meter cut on his spleen, which is also slightly enlarged.
“It’s a non-surgical case; it will heal on its own,” said Chiefs head trainer Rick Burkholder. “But he’s going to have to have some time down from contacts and collisions.”
Normal recovery takes about six weeks, so even if the stars align and the Chiefs somehow make the AFC playoffs, Smith would not be able to play any earlier than the Super Bowl. Chase Daniel will make the start this Sunday against the Chargers.
“They were talking about it rupturing and so you’re talking about emergency surgery or bleeding out,” Smith said. “Obviously pretty scary endings. It’s a different deal when you’re getting told those types of things. I know Chris Simms kind of had to deal with his spleen and an emergency situation going to the hospital and getting on an airplane and potentially really be dealing with some dangerous stuff.”
Smith thinks the hit he took in the third quarter on an incomplete pass to wide receiver Albert Wilson caused the injury. On the play, the Steelers defense ran a stunt with their defensive line and linebacker Jason Worilds came free after both right guard Zach Fulton and running back Jamaal Charles missed blocks on him. As he released the ball, Worilds hit Smith in the stomach with his helmet.
“I’m kind of guessing as far as the hit; I think it was that one,” Smith said. “It wasn’t until after I showered up, even dressed, adrenaline kind of got out of me and I noticed some discomfort in my stomach area. Pressure, cramping and I thought it was, I don’t know, something I ate. I didn’t even necessarily relate it to a hit, but definite discomfort down there.
“I went and saw Doc, he examined me, told me some things to kind of keep an eye out for. I literally took some antacid stuff there. I didn’t know what to make of it and it just didn’t go away. It was kind of next day, same thing, the day after that, same thing.”
The quarterback was examined by the team internist Dr. Mike Monaco on Wednesday and he was encouraged to get a scan done on his abdominal area. It took a lot of convincing from Dr. Monaco to get Smith to go for the scan on Thursday afternoon.
“Thankfully, Doc kind of urged me to get the test,” said Smith. “I was pretty reluctant yesterday, Christmas Day. I was telling him ‘I’m fine. I’ll be alright.’ He really kind of pushed me to go get it checked out and make sure everything was OK.”
It wasn’t and Smith’s playing season is over. He plans to be on the sideline helping Daniel in whatever way possible in facing San Diego.
“Yes. I’m planning on being there,” Smith said. “The big thing is just no contact, so really I think other than that, it’s just normal activities.”