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Zhaire Smith “in danger” of not playing at all this season


NBA: Summer League-Philadelphia 76ers at Memphis Grizzlies Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Just when you thought this afternoon couldn’t get any sadder following a report that Markelle Fultz would cease playing until he meets with a shoulder specialist, John Gonzalez slips this nugget into a piece at the Ringer:

A league source tipped me to Smith’s allergy issues on the morning of November 9. I spent the afternoon checking around and talked to people inside and outside the organization. I also reached out to Smith’s agent, who gave me a terse “no comment” before hanging up the phone. Then the team suddenly addressed the media late that night — before flying to Memphis for a game the next day and mere hours before news broke the next morning about the Butler deal.

I’m not sure what to make of that timeline. It might be coincidence, but it’s certainly curious. So was the way the information was ladled out by the organization. Several reports stemming from the November 9 background briefing mentioned that Smith had “lost weight” over the past month and a half, but I was told that he lost “upward of 20 pounds.” For someone who’s listed at 199 pounds on the team website, that’s significant. As is the difference between Smith not playing in 2018, as reported, and “being in danger” of not playing at all this season, which is how it was explained to me. I was also told that he had more than one procedure to address the issue, which is evidently what the Sixers meant by the fuzzy “additional medical treatment” line. (The team had no comment, according to a spokesperson.)

I’m at a loss for words at this point regarding the injury luck (of lack of) with this Sixers team. It’s just sad and depressing. Zhaire is going through something that was at one point or another (maybe still?) seriously dangerous. Hoping he makes a full recovery.

I will add this: for as shitty as some aspects of this Sixers season seem, its. not. all. bad. THE SIXERS HAVE JIMMY BUTLER AND AN MVP CANDIDATE. These sorts of days are sometimes tough to get through without feeling like you just want to unplug from all things NBA. But good times are ahead.

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