According to a few different sources close to the 76ers’ organization, second-year guard Zhaire Smith will not be joining the team down in Orlando for the NBA’s scheduled restart. Smith reportedly started experiencing pain in his knee last week and immediately began rehab once the bone bruise was revealed.
According to Derek Bodner of The Athletic, Smith is expected to make a full recovery.
Taken with the 16th overall pick in the 2018 draft, Smith’s NBA career has been quite the rollercoaster (to put it kindly). Smith fractured his foot during a summer developmental camp prior to his rookie season, and then spent the majority of that same year in a hospital as he battled a near-deadly allergic reaction.
Smith lost close to 20lbs of muscle due to the reaction and had a long road back to normalcy as he attempted to rebuild both his body and his basketball playing ability.
Smith was predominately a G-League player during this past season, playing in 28 games for the Delaware Blue Coats. The former Texas Tech Red Raider showed flashes of his old self down in the NBA’s developmental system, averaging 13.5 points per game.
Smith’s latest knee injury is just the most recent setback in a career riddled with bad luck. While Smith was unlikely to play any sort of actual role for the Sixers down in Orlando next month, this adds another layer of doubt on his future with the 76ers organization.
Newly acquired guard Ryan Broekhoff will likely take over any minutes that were scheduled for Smith.
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports