Preps Talk

Almost fully recovered, Smith looks to bounce back in a big way


Almost fully recovered, Smith looks to bounce back in a big way

Ben Smith was scoring the big goals during the Blackhawks first-round series against Vancouver two postseasons ago. It was a great debut, one that still earned mention when Smith walked across the runway at the teams convention last weekend.

It was exciting, but that was a year and a half ago, Smith said Monday before playing in Denis Savard Foundations Third Annual Golf Classic. But I want to bounce back to that level and even be better than that.

Now that hes healthy, Smith will attempt to do just that.

Smith was looking to build off that Vancouver series during the 2011-12 season; but the campaign began and ended with tough injuries. He suffered a concussion from a Brendan Smith hit at the end of training camp, and then had season-ending labrum and hernia surgery in March. Smith said he first felt pain in December and that it was nagging me over time. Crossing over (skating) was difficult.

The surgery is a pretty common one among hockey players. Still, going under the knife and dealing with the lengthy recovery time -- four months -- was daunting to Smith. But he talked with teammates who had undergone the surgery before, including forward Brendan Morrison.

That was comforting, Smith said. Its not career threatening, life threatening or anything like that. I was going to play hockey again.

Still, recovery wasnt fun. Smith spent 6-7 weeks in a hip brace and was laid up on his couch for most of that time. After that it was rehabilitation, strengthening the muscles for another 6-8 weeks.

Now Smith is close to 100 percent healthy again. Even if training camp does start on time, in September, Smith foresees being ready to go.

Its been a bumpy road since Smiths stellar postseason outing. That was nice, for certain. But Smith wants to repeat -- and build on that -- come this season.

Thats obviously a goal, to get back to that and even surpass it, Smith said. Right now, the biggest thing is being healthy physically and being healthy mentally, which will be an edge for me. Im excited to see what could happen moving forward.

High School Lites Football Roundup Week 9

High School Lites Football Roundup Week 9

High School Lites is back with an exciting Week 9 full of thrilling matchups. NBC Sports Chicago has the highlights of some of the top matchups from Friday's games.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @NBCSPREPS for all of the latest IHSA football scores and highlights.

DRIVE: Batavia (episode 9)

TEAM OF THE WEEK: Oak Forest football

VIEWERS' CHOICE GAMES OF THE WEEK: Fremd runs past Schaumburg

WINTRUST ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Notre Dame running back Ty Gavin


(1) Lincoln-Way East 31, (16) Bolingbrook 0

(2) Batavia 24, Wheaton North 13

(3) Brother Rice 31, (17) Montini 0

(4) Marist 24, Benet 7

(6) Homewood-Flossmoor 56, Sandburg 0

(7) Cary-Grove 55, (15) Naperville Central 41

(9) Nazareth Academy 42, Marian Catholic 6

(10) Maine South 48, Niles West 6

(11) Oswego 22, Plainfield South 15

(12) Richards 41, Eisenhower 6

(13) Phillips 41, Raby 0

(14) Willowbrook 42, Downers South 20

(18) Oak Park-River Forest 48, Lyons 0

(19) Warren 43, Mundelein 7

(20) Glenbard West 35, Proviso West 6

(21) Hillcrest 43, Bremen 6

Joliet Catholic 33, (22) Notre Dame 17

(23) Hinsdale Central 21, Hinsdale South 12

(24) Rolling Meadows 34, Buffalo Grove 7

Wheaton Warrenville South 13, (25) St. Charles North 11


Payton 43, Kenwood 42

Coal City 43, Lisle 14

Huntley 55, Dundee-Crown 12

Perspectives 32, Solorio 16


Fenwick vs. (5) Mount Carmel 

(8) Simeon vs. Curie

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Can the Bears pull off an upset at home against Tom Brady and the Patriots?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Can the Bears pull off an upset at home against Tom Brady and the Patriots?

Chris Emma, Matt Zahn and Gabe Ramirez join David Kaplan on the panel.

0:00- NBC Sports National NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh joins the panel to discuss the Bulls’ terrible defensive performance as well as Zach LaVine’s impressive season debut.

11:35- Khalil Mack is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Patriots. Can the Bears pull off the upset against Tom Brady?

23:50- NBC Sports Boston Patriots insider Tom E. Curran joins Kap to talk about how New England views the Bears and discuss how Matt Nagy’s team can exploit the Patriots’ weaknesses.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below.