Zhaire Smith Passes Big Step In Recovery
The Philadelphia 76ers have dealt with their fair share of injuries to rookies in past years, and this one hasn't been any different. All three of the Sixers 2018 draft picks got hurt in someway, but Zhaire Smith's was the injury with the longest time of recovery. Smith suffered a Jones fracture in his left foot, the same injury Ben Simmons had during his first year, during an offseason camp. While Simmons missed an entire year due to the injury, Smith is expected to return around Christmas time.
Here's the official update from the Sixers:
Zhaire Smith (Jones fracture) underwent a six-week post-surgical follow-up yesterday with Dr. Martin O'Malley, Associate Attending Orthopedic Surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Dr. O'Malley is pleased with healing to date, and Smith is cleared to begin full weight bearing. He will be re-evaluated by Dr. O'Malley in approximately four weeks.
In addition to Smith being cleared for full weight bearing, Shake Milton (back) has been cleared for limited contact and Landry Shamet (ankle) is fully cleared for action.
The Sixers acquired Smith and a 2021 first-round pick from the Suns on draft night in a trade that didn't sit well with a lot of fans. Philadelphia sent Villanova's Mikal Bridges to Phoenix. While Bridges may have provided a more NBA-ready package, the Sixers were high on Smith's athletisism and most scouts have him at a higher ceiling than Bridges as well. In addition, the 2021 first-round pick is Miami's and it is unprotected in a draft that could include high school players for the first time since 2006.
Zhaire Smith, 19, averaged 11.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks in his only season at Texas Tech. He joins the handful of Sixers first-rounders to miss at least a portion of their season dating back to 2013-14.