Thursday evening, New York Jets starting quarterback Geno Smith underwent surgery to repair a fractured jaw caused during a locker room altercation with former linebacker I.K. Enemkpali. After receiving a second opinion, Smith elected to have the surgery, which inserted plates and screws into his jaw. He did not have his jaw wired shut.
When Smith originally suffered his injury, the estimated timetable given by head coach Todd Bowles was 6-10 weeks. Does that estimate still remain accurate? Scout.com spoke with Selene G. Parekh (MD, MBA), a partner at the North Carolina Orthopaedic Clinic and Associate Professor at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, who weighed in on Smith’s injury.
Q: The original recovery time estimation was for 6-10 weeks. With Smith not having his jaw wired shut, should that timetable be shortened?
PAREKH: Unfortunately, no. The timetable is the same. The bone needs that time to heal enough before he can start physical activities.
Q: Screws and plates were inserted into Smith’s jaw. In layman’s terms, what exactly does that mean?
PAREKH: Essentially, the bone fragments are put back into place to repair his jaw, but they must be held there so that they do not shift again. The plates and screws prevent the pieces from shifting so that they have time to heal.
Q: Will this injury have any sort of long-term impact on Smith’s career?
PAREKH: No, it shouldn’t.
Q: With Smith’s jaw not wired shut, what will he be able to eat?
PAREKH: He may be asked to do a “softer” diet for a few days to a week, depending on his personal level of pain. After that, eating any type of food should be ok.