Will Smith Eager For Return To Dodgers Lineup But Exercising Caution With Concussion

The struggling Los Angeles Dodgers lineup lost arguably its most consistent hitter on Sunday when Will Smith was placed on the seven-day concussion list.

Smith had missed the first two games of the Chicago Cubs series due to what manager Dave Roberts described as an “illness.” After he was out of the lineup for the series opener, Roberts said the hope was Smith would return Saturday.

He subsequently was ruled out for the remainder of the series after the Dodgers’ walk-off win.

Smith’s concussion was a result of being struck in the face by three foul balls during last Tuesday’s game at Oracle Park. “That’s kind of a lot for a game,” he said Monday.

“Usually it’s one, maybe two.”

Smith nevertheless started in the series finale against the San Francisco Giants and didn’t begin to experience any symptoms until the Dodgers’ off day.

“I passed the actual concussion test, balance test, vision test, memory test, all of that. But the symptoms added up and it was determined it was definitely a concussion, so just played it safe,” Smith explained.

Although the 28-year-old wound up on the IL, there’s been steady improvement.

“I feel pretty good right now,” Smith said. “Nothing too crazy at all. Just kind of playing it safe. Hopefully a couple more days, and I’ll be back in there.”

This is the first time Smith has dealt with a concussion, which he noted is not the type of injury that one can “play through and deal with.”

“That’s my No. 1 priority, is to get back to 100%. I don’t want to rush this,” Smith added. “I especially don’t want to mess with it.”

The full extent of his symptoms were headaches and dizziness, and after participating in a full workout on Monday, the next step is ensuring there aren’t any setbacks.

When can Will Smith return from concussion?

Smith’s IL stint was retroactive to April 13, which makes Thursday the first day he is eligible to be reinstated. Smith deemed a return that day a possibility.

“It’s going to be a progression,” he added. “So we’ll see how I recover after going through a full workout. Just kind of day by day.”

One certainty is Smith will not be changing from his traditional catcher’s mask to the hockey style that have become popular throughout the sport.

“I think it’s about the best one you can get, the FORCE3,” Smith said.

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