A source informed of Smith's prognosis said the nerve in Smith's knee has started to regenerate. There is still a long way to go, but he's slowly getting muscle control.
Smith can now lift up his toes and he can lift his foot. More good news. What no one knows is when or if the nerve will completely return to normal. Internally, the Cowboys continue to minimize expectations and know he has a ways to go. Nevermind that he missed football last year and must catch up on the field.
"We'll have to wait and see, but we have cause for optimism," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told reporters Monday, adding that he was encouraged to hear Smith is "lifting those toes" again.
Either way, Smith will still play with a brace in 2017. He's in the capable hands of Cowboys athletic trainers, and they expect him out on the field for next season.
In addition, there is no expectation that Smith will snap his fingers and become the top-level linebacker he might have been before his injury. The Cowboys are optimistic he will return to full health and be a valuable on-field contributor for the team moving forward.