Minnesota Vikings linebacker Cameron Smith underwent open-heart surgery earlier this week after discovering he had a congenital heart disorder. Now he has shared an update from the hospital, posting a video on Instagram that showed him working on his recovery.
Smith updated his fans on Wednesday morning with a short clip. He stood in his hospital room and then slowly began taking his first steps since the surgery. He did not move at a rapid pace but still successfully made his way down the hall. This video followed another post on Instagram in which Smith gave the camera a thumbs-up sign after a successful surgery.
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"Just focused on getting better every day," Smith wrote in the caption of his Instagram video. The clip was short, as was his message, but the fans and followers responded with excitement about the latest update. They proclaimed that this was the first step in a major comeback and that the linebacker would soon make his mark on the NFL.
The second-year linebacker out of USC originally discovered that he had a congenital heart disorder — a bicuspid aortic valve — after testing positive for COVID-19. ESPN reports that the test was actually one of the league's "false positives" that drew headlines over the past week. However, Smith called the diagnosis a "blessing in disguise" considering that it alerted him to a potentially life-threatening issue.
While Smith will miss the entire season after initially planning to backup starter Eric Kendricks, he will remain around the team. Head coach Mike Zimmer said that the linebacker is willing to help out in any way he can. Although he will first have to stay in Philadelphia to recover.
"He talked before he left about trying to help out in any way possible: coming to meetings, he'll draw cards, help with the scout teams, anything," Zimmer said. "We're hopeful he's able to come back and play football, but more importantly, he looks like he's going to be great in health." Smith previously said that the rehabilitation process will take roughly three months until he is cleared for unrestricted physical activity.
A four-year starter at USC, Smith totaled 354 tackles for the Trojans. He earned All PAC-12 honors during three of these seasons and worked his way into the draft conversation. The Vikings ultimately selected Smith with a fifth-round pick, setting up a rookie season where he appeared in five games and registered eight tackles.