Redskins believe Alex Smith (leg) will miss all of 2019

Alex Smith's gruesome leg injury already robbed him of a full first season in Washington. It could cost him another one in 2019.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Washington Redskins are planning as if they won't have Smith in 2019, according to sources informed of the situation. Washington believes Smith will miss the entire season with issues stemming from the compound fracture suffered in Week 11.

If Smith ends up being ready for the season, the Redskins will be pleasantly surprised, Rapoport added.

Images of Smith's leg, wrapped and held in place by an intricate brace, surfaced last week when he made an appearance at a Washington Wizards game, and caused newfound concern about Smith's playing future. It wasn't a simple cast Smith was wearing. This new information falls in line with what we saw of Smith, who dealt with infections after the initial surgery.

Rapoport reported back in December that Smith's future was in jeopardy, due to the infections he battled, requiring a prolonged hospital stay.

"No one has been able to definitively say he is going to play football going forward," Rapoport said on Dec. 5.

Redskins president Bruce Allen told reporters Tuesday Smith is "well on his way to a recovery," but was far from definitive on when he expected to see Smith back on the field.

"We'll see how it goes," Allen said. "We're optimistic. If anyone can come back, it's Alex. I'm sure he wanted to shoot hoops at the game yesterday, but we'll see."

Washington was rudderless without Smith, turning to Colt McCoy, who also was knocked out for the season by injury, Mark Sanchez, and finally, Josh Johnson. The team finished 7-9.

Considering how the team's fortunes took a drastic downward turn without Smith, and the quarterback's age (34), it would seem as though the Redskins are a legitimate candidate to explore options at the position, including a stopgap starter and a developmental prospect. But Washington is very much still tied to Smith, who has four years left on his deal, $22.1 million in bonuses and a back-loaded cap number that escalates with each season.

When healthy, Smith is a reliable starter who can do more than enough to help a team to the playoffs. He completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 2,180 yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions in less than 10 full games and had the Redskins in contention for the NFC East before his leg injury.

It might be another year before we get a chance to see what could have been in the nation's capital.