Head coach Todd Bowles said rookie wide receiver Devin Smith suffered a knee injury during Sunday's win over Tennessee that will end his season.
"He has an ACL tear. We're probably going to put him on IR," Bowles told reporters on a late afternoon conference call today. "It's a tough break for him. He was starting to play faster and finding his place within the offense. But he's a young guy so hopefully ... he can come back stronger next year."
Bowles elaborated on Smith's improved play speed, saying, "He was grasping everything mentally ... and when you learn more and you get the mental part of it down, your game starts to play faster. He started playing faster from a route standpoint, from a blocking standpoint, from a recognition standpoint, and it's unfortunate that this happened. He was coming around, he was really going to help us."
Smith was injured while covering a punt midway through the third quarter. He was running across the field from his left gunner position toward the kick to the right by Ryan Quigley. He seemed to drag his left leg after planting it right before absorbing a hard hit from his left side from the Titans' Marqueston Huff near the sideline.
Smith, who fought his way back after breaking some ribs and partially puncturing his lung while making a spectacular catch during an early training camp practice, finishes his first NFL season with nine receptions on 28 targets for 115 yards (12.8 yards/catch) and a 16-yard touchdown reception from Ryan Fitzpatrick in the second quarter of the Nov. 29 home win over the Dolphins. He recorded five first downs and converted three third downs.
He also had one kickoff return for 21 yards against Buffalo, at the end of which he lost a fumble that the Bills scored on.