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Jaylon Smith: Notre Dame linebacker denies nerve damage reports ... sort of

Yikes! Even Smith is giving conflicting information.

Jaylon Smith
Jaylon Smith
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith, who some had pegged as a target for the New York Giants with the 10th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, has nerve damage and will miss at least the 2016 season, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

It was a long day of speculation regarding Smith, who suffered a torn ACL and MCL on New Year's Day. Smith, some have said, could have been the first overall pick if he had remained healthy.

Now? Who knows.

Smith had posted a video walking without a brace earlier on Friday, and it set off a variety of speculation.

Former NFL team physician Dr. David Chao, who worked for the San Diego Chargers for many years, was the first to speculate about potential nerve damage. Chao opined that Smith has a "long road" ahead to recovery and that his draft stock may have taken a huge hit.

FOX Sports also speculated that Smith may need a "redshirt year."

Smith gave conflicting statements about possible nerve damage.

"No, the nerve wasn't stretched at all. It's just the healing game. That's all. It's a process. I'll be back 100 percent. We just don't know when," Smith said. "I'm hoping to go top 10. I view myself as the best player in the draft."

Then Smith said this, which may indicate there was nerve damage:

"I feel great. There's no soreness in the knee or there's no pain. I've been off pain pills for almost a month. It's the matter of the recovery process. I don't know when the nerve and everything will heal."

With all of this uncertainty now, however, it is anybody's guess as to where he will be drafted. I can't, however, imagine the Giants taking an early risk on him.