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Jaylon Smith: 'Absolutely' a chance I play in 2016

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The best moment of the 2016 NFL Draft came Friday night, when the Dallas Cowboys selected Jaylon Smith with the No. 34 overall pick.

The Notre Dame linebacker fell from the top of the first round after suffering a knee injury during the Fiesta Bowl. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported teams were concerned with nerve damage in his knee, which caused him to tumble in the draft. Getting picked in the second round became a shocker.

The prevailing thought is that Smith will likely to miss the entire 2016 season.

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Asked by reporters after his selection whether there is a chance he can play this year, Smith spun positive.

"Absolutely. Never doubt God," he said, via the Dallas Morning News.

Smith noted that nerves are a tricky business.

"I get different sensations everyday with the nerve, but it's just a timing thing," he said. "I'm only three and a half months out, so time will definitely tell, but the knee is fine. That was cleared at the medical recheck that the knee won't have any issues. But it's just a timing thing for the nerve. It's too early in the process to tell."

One of the problems with nerve damage -- and what scares most teams -- is that it's difficult for doctors to pin down how long it will take to recover.

"There's no recovery time because this is a process where we're relying on God to do his work," Smith said. "We have to be patient and you know the nerve can come back tomorrow. It's just a timing thing. Whenever it wants to come back, it'll come back."

When asked by NFL Network's Lindsay Rhodes when he hopes to be back on the field, Smith kept it positive:

"As soon as possible," the linebacker beamed.

The Cowboys had a unique insight into Smith's injury, with team physician Dr. Daniel Cooper preforming the surgery.

It's a big swing for an organization with a 36-year-old quarterback in win-now mode, but if Smith returns to form -- even if it isn't this year -- Dallas will have the steal of the draft.

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