AUGUST 10: Smith underwent surgery on Thursday evening to repair the Jones fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his left foot, the Sixers announced in a press release. The club intends to update Smith’s recovery timetable at a later date.
AUGUST 7: An MRI on the injured left foot of Sixers rookie Zhaire Smith has revealed a Jones fracture, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. According to Charania, Smith – who hurt his foot on Monday during a developmental camp in Las Vegas – will see another specialist in Philadelphia, but is expected to undergo surgery later this week.
It’s a tough blow for a 76ers team that has had bad luck with injuries to top draft picks in recent years. Former third overall pick Joel Embiid didn’t appear in a regular season game until his third year in the NBA, 2016’s No. 1 selection Ben Simmons missed his entire rookie season, and 2017’s top pick Markelle Fultz played just 14 games last year.
While Smith won’t enter the NBA faced with the same expectations that Embiid, Simmons, and Fultz had, he was Philadelphia’s top selection in the 2018 draft. The former Texas Tech forward, the No. 16 pick, was acquired by the Sixers on draft night along with a future first-rounder in a trade that sent 10th overall pick Mikal Bridges to Phoenix.
The Sixers likely won’t announce a timeline for Smith’s recovery until after he undergoes surgery, but the team has been very cautious with injuries to key young players. While that doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t see Smith at all during his rookie year, a similar injury sidelined Simmons for a full season in 2016/17, as Derek Bodner of The Athletic notes (via Twitter).