ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Rod Smith needs another operation on his surgically repaired left hip, and his NFL career could be over.
The Denver Broncos co-captain revealed Friday he needs another surgery. There's a strong possibility he'll require an artificial hip replacement, which almost certainly would end his 13-year NFL career.
"It's hard. Because, honestly, it could be the end of my career. It could be my last game as a professional athlete. My last game with the Denver Broncos could be this Sunday," said Smith, who has been out all season. "That in itself is really emotional, but at the same time I'm blessed to be here this long."
Smith had been getting treatment at the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colo., where he had a microfracture hip operation in February. He recently saw a specialist in Los Angeles, and surgery was scheduled there for next month.
"I have a lot of memories, but the thing is not over, our season is not over," Smith said. "So, I'm trying to respect everybody that's out there and make sure I don't take anything away from them. That's what I've been real hesitant to speak to anybody about it, because honestly I'm at the point where I still don't know exactly what's going on.
"I just know my leg still hurts. It's worse now than it was last year. It's worse now than it was before I actually had surgery. So I'm not comfortable. I have to get to a point where I'm comfortable."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press