Zhaire Smith’s tenure with the 76ers has been marred with bad luck.
The second-year guard has suffered a bone bruise in his left knee and will not travel with the team to Orlando for the 22-squad resumption of the season at Walt Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
Smith suffered the injury before the team opened the facility for individualized workouts in May.
The Sixers acquired Smith in the first round of the 2018 draft. The Phoenix Suns selected the former Texas Tech standout 16th overall and immediately traded him along with the Miami Heat’s unprotected 2021 first-round pick for Mikal Bridges.
But Smith has failed to remain healthy and live up to expectations.
He suffered an acute Jones fracture in his left foot while competing in the camp in August 2018. Smith was expected to return from that injury that December. However, he remained out until March 25, 2018 due to the life-threatening allergic reaction to something he ate back in September, 2018. The reaction left him speechless and 40 pounds lighter.
He only played six games that season.
This season, Smith have averaged 1.1 points in seven appearances. The Sixers unsuccessfully tried to shop him at the trade deadline.
Let the workouts begin.
Wednesday marks the first day NBA teams, participating in the league’s restart, can mandate individualize workouts.
So most of the 22 teams that will resume the season can be expected to start working players. The Sixers will conduct voluntary workouts at their practice facility in Camden until they travel to Orlando on July 9.
But at least they will have the option to work out at their practice facility. The Denver Nuggets closed their practice facility on Saturday, after two members of the team’s 35-person Disney travel party tested positive for COVID-19. The team, which is scheduled to head to Orlando on July 7, will reopen the facility based on the results of ongoing testing.
In addition, Nuggets standout center Nikola Jokic, who is in Serbia, had his return to the United States temporarily delayed after testing positive for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets’ DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Dinwiddie said Monday they had tested positive for COVID-19. Jordan opted out of participating in the NBA restart in Orlando, while Dinwiddie has yet to rule himself out.
That followed the announcement by teammate Wilson Chandler, a former Sixer, that he will not accompany the team to Orlando. Another former Sixer, Justin Anderson, was signed as a replacement player.
The Nets also will also be without Kyrie Irving, who has a shoulder injury.
The Sixers’ outlook is better than that of the undermanned Nets (30-34), who are the Eastern Conference’s seventh seed. However, it’s vital for the sixth-seeded Sixers (39-26) and all of the participating teams to remain out of harm’s way at their practice facilities and in Orlando.
After arriving in Orlando’s bubble-like atmosphere. the Sixers will conduct a training camp until July 29. During that time, they will play in three scrimmages.
Then, the Sixers will face the Indiana Pacers on Aug. 1, in the first of their eight seeding games in Orlando. The fifth-seeded Pacers (39-26) hold a 2-1 series advantage.
The first round of the playoffs are scheduled to start Aug. 17.