Plenty of bad news today for the 76ers. And an eventful day for the team’s notorious medical staff. After learning that Joel Embiid was out for at least a week with knee soreness following his participation in Sunday’s All-Star game, and that Furkan Kormaz has a torn meniscus, some fans were excited for the possible return of 16th overall pick in the 2018 draft, Zhaire Smith. But the disappointing news continued today. It sounds like the team does not expect the Texas Tech product to suit up for the Sixers this year; the hope is that he’ll play for the Delaware Blue Coats of the G League.
Zhaire Smith had practice at around “60%” today per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. But hours later, we received this update:
The news would not have been terribly surprising to fans who originally learned of the acute Jones fracture he suffered in his foot last summer:
A medical update on Zhaire Smith: pic.twitter.com/YQMfJRh5YX— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) August 7, 2018
And especially unsurprising once fans also learned that he was not able to focus on rehabilitating his foot because of an allergic reaction that required a thoracoscopy in his chest.
It makes sense that the plan would have been for Smith to be given a very very conservative rehab program.
But the team indicated that he might be back at some point this season on December 22nd, and did so again on February 8th. So this comes as at least a bit of a surprise.
For Sixer fans, it’s certainly disappointing. Although perhaps no other fanbase in the NBA has been better trained to mistrust a rosy forecast from their favorite team regarding injury prognosis:
I’ve said this on the pod like 500 times. This isn’t bad, it’s just a function of what he’s gone through, and what they even expected from him this year in the first place. https://t.co/tbhE6pJmKy— Spike Eskin (@SpikeEskin) February 20, 2019
Hopefully Smith gets well. The foot injury he suffered is one that is sometimes susceptible to setback. Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons has dealt with a Jones fracture and a recurrence of injury to the area, as has Sammy Watkins of the Kansas City Chiefs, and Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors. Ben Simmons has actually dealt with this and took a lengthy rehab to avoid setback. Simmons has been (knock wood) the only one of the aforementioned group to avoid setback. Hopefully Smith joins the list as well.