Sixers’ first-round selection Zhaire Smith suffered a Jones fracture in his left foot at Tim Grguich’s development camp on Monday and is expected to undergo surgery later this week, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Sixers announced that Smith suffered a left foot injury at the camp in Las Vegas, Nevada and returned Philadelphia to be evaluated for further testing.
Charania mentioned that the tests showed a Jones fracture for the first-round pick and he will also visit another foot specialist this week.
If you are not familiar with Grguich, he is currently an assistant coach with the Detroit Pistons and has spent 27 years coaching in the NBA.
Outside of pro hoops, Grguich was a lead assistant in the 1990s under legendary college basketball head coach Jerry Tarkanian at UNLV and head coach in the 1970s at the University of Pittsburgh.
In June, the Sixers acquired Zhaire Smith in a draft night trade with the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Mikal Bridges (No. 10 pick) and the Miami’s Heat unprotected 2021 first-round pick.
Smith had an amazing freshman season at Texas Tech University, helping the Red Raiders become a force in the Big 12 and making a deep run in the NCAA tourney.
Between his production at Texas Tech and impressive draft workout performances, Smith quickly rose up draft boards.
Even though he does not have much of an offensive game, the Sixers took the chance on drafting Zhaire Smith because of his upside.
Smith showed a little bit of that potential in the Las Vegas Summer League last month. In six summer league games, he averaged 7.7 points, 2.7 assists, and 2.3 rebounds in 24.7 minutes per game.
Over the last few years, the Sixers have a well-documented history with losing their first-round picks to injuries.
Just last month, Landry Shamet, who Philadelphia drafted with their second first-round pick, picked up a right ankle sprain in the team’s summer league opener.
Shamet would miss the rest of the summer league. Along those same lines, Markelle Fultz missed a majority of last season with a scapular muscle imbalance in his right shoulder. He only played in 14 games, averaging 7.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.1 assists a game.
Then there was Ben Simmons, who missed his entire rookie season in 2016 with a Jones fracture. However, unlike Smith, Simmons suffered his foot injury during training camp.
In addition to those injuries, Jahlil Okafor suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee, Joel Embiid missed two seasons with various injuries, and Nerlens Noel missed all of the 2013-14 season as he was rehabbing from a torn ACL that he suffered in college.
The Sixers have not released a timetable yet on Smith’s recovery, but it is a strong bet that the team will be cautious about when to bring him back. As we saw with Simmons, Philadelphia took the long-term plan and decided to sit him out an entire season.
The move worked out for both parties and Simmons was named Rookie of the Year last season. Luckily for the Sixers, they have more than enough guard/forward depth to overcome the immediate loss of Smith.