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Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith still has a long way to go in his recovery from complications suffered after a gruesome leg injury, but he took a huge step forward on Monday.

Smith no longer requires the use of the external fixator, the bulky stabilizing device he wore around his right leg, that had helped the healing process.

“The last 8 months have been nothing short of crazy,” Smith’s wife, Elizabeth, wrote in a . “Although it’s not over, today is a big milestone. We are shedding the weight Alex has been carrying (literally and figuratively). It’s one step closer to the goal. The resilience, determination and mental fortitude of this man is unmatched.”

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