Zhaire Smith should have known that once he became the rookie the Philadelphia 76ers left draft night with, an injury was in his not-so-distant future.
And now, less than two months after he entered the league, Smith has suffered a fractured left foot while taking part in a development camp in Las Vegas, which will require surgery later this week, according to Yahoo Sports.
This is nothing new for the Sixers, who have lost one of their rookies for a prolonged period due to injury every year since 2013.
First it was Nerlens Noel, who, after being drafted sixth overall in 2013, missed the entire season to recover from knee surgery.
Then Joel Embiid missed not only his first year after being drafted third overall in 2014, but the following year too with a foot issue.
Ben Simmons continued the trend with a foot injury of his own to sit out all of 2016-17 after being drafted first overall.
Last year’s situation with Markelle Fultz, however, was by far the weirdest as a puzzling shoulder problem kept the first overall selection sidelined the first 68 games and altered his shooting form.
Of all the curses in sports, the voodoo on 76ers rookie is one of the most inexplicable. A lengthy title drought is considered a hex for many franchises, but winning a championship is extremely difficult and is often helped by luck.
Rookies getting injured every year in a mysterious manner during the offseason and then missing most, if not all of the season? That’s just too specific and improbable to be chalked up as a coincidence.
Smith nearly avoided this fate when he was drafted by the Phoenix Suns with 16th overall pick in this year’s draft, but was later traded to the Sixers for Mikal Bridges.
It’s unclear how long Smith will be out of action, but the injury is substantial enough that it continues Philadelphia’s terrible injury luck another year.
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