It seems like the Philadelphia 76ers never can quite catch a break. Well, they can, but not in the way they’d like. Rookie Zhaire Smith, the 16th pick in this year’s NBA Draft, has a fractured left foot according to Yahoo’s Shams Charania.
“Sources: Philadelphia 76ers rookie Zhaire Smith has suffered a fractured left foot. Smith, the No. 16 pick in the Draft, hurt his foot on Monday in Las Vegas during a developmental camp for NBA players.”
A Jones fracture can take anywhere from six to eight weeks to heal. Even after that, though, you’re never quite out of the woods. Hello, Ben Simmons. It’s a tricky injury to say the least. On the court, Smith is seen as one of the best athletes in this rookie class, but now the Sixers are stuck waiting again. Of course, they know all about these kinds of things. Rookies and injury problems are their thing, so to speak.
Let’s go back to 2013 with big man Nerlens Noel. The 76ers would select him despite the fact that he suffered an ACL tear during his lone season at Kentucky. Noel wouldn’t play a game that season. One year later, Joel Embiid went No. 3 overall despite suffering a stress fracture in his right foot the week before the draft. He would also miss the entire season.
2015 then saw Embiid suffer a setback during his recovery from said stress fracture, but the fun doesn’t end there. A second procedure on it cost him a second season as well. That same year, No. 3 overall pick Jahlil Okafor suffered a meniscus tear after actually starting the season with the team. And guess what? Yes, you’re correct — he didn’t play the rest of the season.
Then came 2016, when No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons suffered the same injury as Smith (Jones fracture) and missed the entire season. Last season the bad luck would fall upon the shoulders of Markelle Fultz. Literally. After an ankle injury ended his Las Vegas Summer League stint prematurely, a shoulder issue — one that drastically altered his shot — wound up costing him 68 games.
Meanwhile, the 76ers are coming off a 52-win season. They’re destined to battle the Boston Celtics out East for years to come. But staying healthy? Well, that’s another matter entirely.
And it seems as though it’s becoming more and more difficult by the season.