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Tago Smith surgery successful, medical red-shirt request on hold

Navy quarterback Tago Smith watches his team warm up from the end zone before the game after being sidelined with a season ending knee injury in Navy's opening game. The Navy Midshipmen played the University of Connecticut Huskies in men's NCAA football Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis.
Navy quarterback Tago Smith watches his team warm up from the end zone before the game after being sidelined with a season ending knee injury in Navy's opening game. The Navy Midshipmen played the University of Connecticut Huskies in men's NCAA football Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. (By Paul W. Gillespie / Capital Gazette)

Last week's surgery to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in Tago Smith's right knee was successful, head coach Ken Niumatalolo said.

"Surgery went well. Now the big thing is trying to recover," Niumatalolo said.

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Niumatalolo hinted that Navy might seek a medical red-shirt for Smith, the starting quarterback who suffered the season-ending knee injury early in the second quarter of the opener against Fordham.

"We'll look into what all the options are," he said.

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Asked specifically if a medical red-shirt request was on the table, Niumatalolo said: "It's an option, but we don't know. We'll work through all that and see how it pans out."

Since Smith played in just over one quarter this season it would seem a slam dunk for the NCAA to grant a fifth-year of eligibility due to injury hardship. However, that is only half the equation with a Naval Academy athlete.

First, Smith must decide whether or not he wants to delay his graduation. Second, Naval Academy officials must determine whether his injury and subsequent recovery require Smith to withdraw from classes.

"It's all case-by-case so we would need to present that," Niumatalolo said.

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