Zhaire Smith has suffered a Jones fracture in his left foot, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark.
Tuesday morning, Sixers vice president of athlete care Daniel Medina said in a statement that Smith suffered the injury Monday while at Tim Grgurich’s development camp in Las Vegas. Ggrurich is a former NBA assistant coach and head coach at Pitt who runs a summer camp in Vegas.
Charania reports that Smith had an MRI on Tuesday in Philadelphia that revealed the injury. Per Clark, surgery is scheduled for later this week, and Smith will also see a Sixers specialist.
Smith, who the Sixers acquired from the Phoenix Suns in a draft-night trade in exchange for the No. 10 pick (Mikal Bridges) and the Miami Heat’s unprotected 2021 first-round pick, showed flashes of brilliance in summer league play. The 19-year-old from Texas Tech averaged 7.7 points, 2.7 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game in Las Vegas.
Head coach Brett Brown and the Sixers view Smith as a player with the potential to be “special,” but the expectation when they selected him was not for him to play a major role this season. While Smith is an elite athlete, he’s somewhat raw offensively and is transitioning from a power forward role in college to playing on the wing in the NBA.
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There’s no timetable for Smith’s recovery, but the Sixers have tended toward caution when dealing with injuries to their young players. While all players heal differently and Smith’s injury took place earlier in the offseason, it’s worth noting that Simmons missed all of his rookie season after suffering the same injury in his right foot.
The Sixers’ track record with the health of their rookies is not the best.
Their No. 26 pick in this year’s draft, Landry Shamet, suffered a right ankle sprain in the first game of summer league and missed the rest of the competition.
Markelle Fultz played in only 14 games last season because of a scapular muscle imbalance, a broken shot, or some combination of the two. Ben Simmons missed the entire 2016-17 season after suffering a Jones fracture in his right foot during training camp. Jahlil Okafor was sidelined on March 11 of his rookie year after tearing the meniscus in his right knee. Joel Embiid sat out two full seasons because of a broken navicular bone in his right foot and subsequent setbacks. Nerlens Noel missed the 2013-14 season as he recovered from surgery on his torn left ACL.
Now, Smith’s name is part of that long, unfortunate list.
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