KNOXVILLE — Blood clots in his lungs were the previously undisclosed health issue that kept Tennessee star offensive lineman Trey Smith from practicing this spring, according to an ESPN report.
Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt indicated at SEC Media Days on July 18 that Smith would return to the field this fall.
The ESPN report suggests Smith will not be cleared for contact until mid-August. Smith spent three nights in the hospital in February after the clots were discovered and flew to Boston for a second opinion, according to the report.
After undergoing treatment, the blood clots are gone, though there is still risk that clots could return, according to the report.
"He didn't go through spring ball and will miss a lot of fall camp," Pruitt told ESPN. "When he comes back, it may take him a while to play his way back into football mode.
"So I'm not sure it would be fair to judge what kind of year he's having until Week 4 or 5 as opposed to the first week. But he loves ball, and I'm just glad he's getting another opportunity."
Smith was the only offensive lineman to start all 12 games for Tennessee in 2017. He earned freshman All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America.
Though not cleared for contact, Smith has been able to perform conditioning drills while undergoing treatment.