Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was adamant Thursday the team won't place the linebacker on injured reserve.
"We will not IR him," Jones told KRLD-FM, via a station producer. "We'll take a chance he'll be back for the playoffs."
Jones dismissed reports indicating Smith will need to sit out all of 2016 due to nerve damage in his knee, noting the unpredictability of healing nerves.
The Cowboys' team physician performed Smith's surgery, which can at least aid Dallas' brass in making a determination as to when it's safe to bring Smith back. Jones is confident that can happen sooner than many hope.
In the end, Smith was an investment for the long-term. The Cowboys shouldn't do anything to jeopardize the playmaking linebacker's future for a few games in the present, unless he's fully ready to play at full speed. But if the Cowboys do make the playoffs, would they really thrust a rookie who hasn't played an NFL down and is coming off a major injury into that situation?
Perhaps Smith does redshirt his entire rookie season, but Jones isn't giving up hope that his second-round pick sees the field in January.