Team doctors told Smith that he is suffering from subluxation in the shoulder. Subluxation is incomplete or partial dislocation of a bone in a joint. "It feels like the more I play it's just getting worse," Smith says.
Smith is shown at practice last Thursday. He did not work out with his teammates on Tuesday.
Although it hasn't been much of a problem for Smith during his career at Auburn, he says that the injury dates back to high school. "I've got a big scar on my shoulder from my junior year of high school when it originally happened," he says. "That was the first time it came out.
"Our practice jerseys in high school let our shoulder pads flap up and down and I went to run somebody over and my shoulder pad flopped up and their helmet hit me straight in my shoulder," he adds. "I missed a couple of games in high school because of that. It slowly got worse every year and it'll pop out a few more times. It's a lot more physical game in college."
Smith has only carried twice in 2004, compared to 79 times as a freshman and 37 as a sophomore. Coming into the season, Smith was listed as Auburn's starting punt returner but has only returned four punts, down from 36 last season.
"I just know that if I get hit in it, it falls out," he says. "If I get a pass over my head and I throw my hand up real high it will slip back. I'll be running the ball and put my hand down to keep myself up and it will slip back sometimes. It slips on me a lot and it will hurt real bad and I can't use it for a little bit.
"It's been slowly getting worse and worse," Smith adds. "It starts popping in and out every now and then, but the last couple of times have been kind of bad. They're holding me out for a couple of weeks and let do rehab and get it back. I should be back in the next couple of weeks."
According to NCAA rules, Smith is still eligible for a medical hardship redshirt, but he can't play in another game after seeing action in three of Auburn's six victories. Smith says he hasn't discussed that option with the coaches.