In his first interview since his gruesome leg injury in November, Redskins quarterback Alex Smith said he is looking forward to the challenge of one day returning to the field.

“That’s the plan,” the 35-year-old Smith told Fox 5′s Angie Goff when asked whether he will play football again after fracturing the tibia and fibula in his right leg. “I got to conquer some more steps before I get there, but yeah.”

Smith needed multiple surgeries and then dealt with an infection in his leg that kept him hospitalized longer than expected, raising concerns that his injury was career threatening. He’s still sporting an external fixator to stabilize the bones in his right leg.

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“I will hopefully have it for four to six more weeks, which will put me at about 7 1/2 months of living with metal pinned into my leg,” Smith said of the device, which Goff referred to as his “Terminator leg.”

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Over the past three months, Smith said, he has gotten off crutches and resumed a workout regimen. He’s golfing and driving again. When his external fixator is removed, he hopes to begin jogging and eventually learn to run again.

“The first four months were really, really hard, just to be in a wheelchair for as long as I was,” Smith said. “When you have independence and then lose it . . . that was the hardest part.”

Smith made an appearance on the practice field at Redskins Park in May. The Redskins tweeted a photo of the quarterback, cropped above the knee, throwing a pass during a session of organized team activities.

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“He’s recovering nicely, slowly but surely,” Redskins Coach Jay Gruden said this month. “It’s going to be a little bit of time, but soon as he’s able to, he’ll push it and get himself ready. We’ll just have to wait and see. It’s going to be a pretty lengthy process, for the most part. Once he’s able to go, he’ll recover a lot quicker than people anticipate, I’m sure.”

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Smith said he accomplishes something with his physical therapist that surprises him every week or two weeks, and he’s gradually learning to trust his recovering right leg again.

“The steps I’m at right now are lifestyle steps,” Smith said. “I’m still working on playing basketball with my kids and running around after my daughter. There’s all those things I have to conquer anyway until I get there to the point where I’m walking on the field. I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited about that challenge. The stronger I get every week, the more I do, the more hopeful I am that that’s a real possibility.”

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