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Another young 76ers player suffers major injury

GiveMeSport | Updated: 2018-08-14 17:49:27

It’s safe to say that the Philadelphia 76ers are probably sick and tired of dealing with injuries to their young players. Unfortunately, there's a long history of high draft picks suffering major ailments shortly after they joined the team. 

In 2013, the Sixers drafted Nerlens Noel with the sixth overall pick in the draft, but he missed the entire 2013-2014 season while recovering from a torn ACL that he suffered during his one-and-done year at Kentucky.

Philadelphia then drafted Joel Embiid with the third pick in 2014, but he then suffered a stress fracture and missed the entire 2014-2015 campaign. In his recovery, he experienced a major setback and then missed the 2015-2016 season as well.

Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia’s No. 3 pick in the 2015 Draft, suffered a meniscus tear during his productive rookie season, which ended it early. In many ways, that injury negatively altered his entire role within the organization.

In 2016, No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons suffered a Jones fracture in his foot right before his rookie season tipped off and he missed the entire 2016-2017 campaign as a result.

Last season, 2017 No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz was sidelined with an ankle injury in the Summer League and then was benched to re-work his shooting form while dealing with a mysterious shoulder ailment that threw off his muscle memory. He ended up missing 68 regular-season games and was a non-factor in the playoffs.

Therefore, it’s safe to assume that there may be more to the trend than bad luck or coincidence at this point. On Tuesday, another young player went down with an injury that could threaten his entire would-be rookie season.

Another youngster goes down

76ers guard Zhaire Smith suffered a Jones fracture at a developmental camp in Las Vegas, as reported by Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

He’s expected to have surgery later in the week.

No timetable was immediately given for his return, but these kinds of injuries can result in major rehabilitation periods, as seen by Simmons' fracture that kept him out an entire season. More will most likely be known in the coming days.

Smith was originally selected by the Phoenix Suns with the 16th overall pick in this summer’s NBA Draft before he was traded to the Sixers for Mikal Bridges just minutes later. 

While Smith’s role was unknown heading into the upcoming season, it seems like he was slated to back up J.J. Redick in some capacity. If he misses the start of the year (or longer), the Sixers can now seemingly place more responsibility on the shoulders of Furkan Korkmaz, who raised eyebrows in a couple outstanding Summer League performances.

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