New Orleans outside linebacker Will Smith will miss the entire 2013 NFL season due to a torn ACL.
Smith sustained the injury in the Saints’ 31-23 preseason win over the Houston Texans on Sunday, per Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Holder cites an ESPN report via Pro Football Talk which reveals the injury is a torn ACL, as revealed by Smith himself.
NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport also broke the news on his Twitter feed.
“Saints veteran Will Smith has suffered a season-ending knee injury, source confirmed (as PFT reported)”
He tore his ACL around the time when defensive end Cam Jordan sacked Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in the second quarter. Smith left the game, had his knee examined on the sideline, went to the locker room and never came back, per Holder.
Smith is a 10-year NFL veteran and a former defensive end who was making the transition to outside linebacker in defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s 3-4 defensive scheme. He told ESPN’s Ed Werder via text message the shift was going well at the time of his ACL tear.
“It was going well. The transition wasn’t that bad. Rob had me in a great position to do well this year, [and] I’m disappointed I won’t be able to help my team out.”
His injury further decimates the Saints’ linebacker corps after his other teammates Victor Butler, Martez Wilson and Junior Galette all went down with injuries of their own and will miss significant time on the field.
Smith and Butler were projected to start at outside linebacker for New Orleans. However, with them being sidelined, Wilson and Galette should be able to fill in for them as soon as they’re able, per UticaOD.com.
Smith was drafted 18th overall in 2004 by the Saints and had his best season in 2009, amassing 13 sacks in his team’s Super Bowl XLIV-winning season.