And while Cowboys owner Jerry Jones did not dispute that in a radio interview Tuesday, he gave the impression that Smith is not in unforeseen territory.
"His progress is really undetermined," Jones said Tuesday morning on KRLD-FM, as transcribed by The Dallas Morning News. "But that was to be expected. He is not off plan at all. The rejuvenation of the nerve that would help him get in position to actually hit the playing field is not complete, but it is not behind. It was to be expected.
"Our doctors are not dismayed at all. I'm not. It's the type of thing that could really come around. And if it comes around, then we'll take advantage of it. And he's such an impact player that we would try to get him on the field. In the meantime, he's doing many things that would let you use the word progress. Of course, he has unbelievable work ethic, character, resolve to help the team."
So essentially, we remain at square one. When it comes to Smith's situation, there continue to be a few constants: He is a dynamic player who many agree was worth the risk of a second-round pick, especially for a Dallas team that is never going to fire its general manager. Smith suffered a very serious injury on Jan. 1 -- tearing his ACL and LCL in the Fiesta Bowl -- and even amateur sideline physicians recognized that it would be amazing to see him anywhere close to full speed before Jan. 1, 2017. Jones has said that Smith could be back for the playoffs, but has also said that he'll likely miss the entire season. Sometimes one has to balance realism with the ability to give hope to a player struggling through grueling rehab.
Smith will one day add a punch to Dallas' defense and could be part of a very strong linebacking corps in the future. The future is unfortunately just a little further away than some had hoped.