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Alex Smith return not certain, but optimism exists for QB's comeback

Alex Smith's return to football is not a certainty, but there is optimism that the Washington Redskins quarterback will return from the spiral fracture in his leg in which the bone broke through his skin, sources tell ESPN.

Smith, 34, faces a lengthy rehab, and doctors are maintaining a wait-and-see attitude even though the Redskins believe he can make it back, according to sources. Smith broke the tibia and fibula in his right leg during last Sunday's loss to the Houston Texans.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden said this past week that Smith, who underwent surgery, did not suffer any ligament damage and faces a timeline of "six to eight months" for recovery.

Colt McCoy will continue to be Washington's starting quarterback and Mark Sanchez the backup.

McCoy passed for 268 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions in Washington's 31-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. The loss dropped the Redskins (6-5) into a first-place tie with the Cowboys (6-5) atop the NFC East.