Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson
Florida Atlantic senior quarterback Rusty Smith will miss the rest of the season with a sprained AC joint he suffered during the final offensive play against Middle Tennessee last weekend.
The injury ends Smith’s career with the Owls and he will decide Thursday whether to have surgery to repair the injury. If Smith does go ahead with surgery, it’s scheduled for Friday.
Smith, who despite the Owls' struggles the past two seasons, is considered a potential NFL draft pick and selection to the NFL scouting combine. Regardless of whether he has surgery, Smith told local media that he plans to be ready for the combine in February.
Smith had initial tests on the injury on Monday, but sought a second opinion Tuesday and said he was surprised that the injury ended his college career.
"I can pretty much tell by the pain if it's serious or not," Smith said. "I did not expect to play anytime soon, but the fact that I wouldn't be able to finish my career, that was a little bit of a shock."
Smith, the most decorated player in Florida Atlantic history, has started 36 consecutive games and is the Owls’ and Sun Belt Conference’s all-time leader in career and single-season passing yards and touchdown passes.
He finishes with 10,112 passing yards and 76 touchdowns. In 2007, his best season, he was the Sun Belt player of the year and MVP of the New Orleans Bowl. Last season, he was the MVP of the Motor City Bowl. He was 19-18 as a starter.
Fourth-year junior Jeff VanCamp will replace Smith and try to salvage the Owls' 2-5 season. The Owls are out of the race for the conference title, but could still make a bowl if they sweep their final five games. The Owls were selected as an at-large team last year with a 6-6 record.
Smith told media that he’s come to terms with the injury and is now focused on moving forward.
"I really have a good peace of mind about it because I know that God has plans for everything and everything in life happens for a reason," Smith said. "A lot of people would think I'd take it pretty harshly and maybe it would jeopardize my future, but I'm not worried about all of that."