CAMDEN, N.J. — The sting the Sixers took from that dreaded rookie curse earlier in the summer is starting to wear off a little bit.
Zhaire Smith underwent a follow-up on his broken left foot on Thursday and has been cleared to begin full weight bearing. Dr. Martin O’Malley, the associate attending orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City who performed the procedure, was pleased with Smith’s healing and will reevaluate him in approximately four weeks.
“Just doing more work, focusing on the left side, doing balances,” Smith said Friday of the next step in his rehab during Sixers media day. “Probably get on the court and just shoot a little bit without getting on my toes.”
Smith, who was the No. 16 pick in the 2018 NBA draft and acquired by the Sixers, suffered a Jones fracture in his left foot at Tim Grgurich's basketball camp in Las Vegas on Aug. 6 and had surgery on Aug. 9.
“I went up for a layup and just got kicked,” Smith said. “I don’t remember landing wrong but I probably landed wrong. I just felt it and I couldn’t walk. Now I’m just rehabbing, listening to what they have for me and just getting better every day.”
While there was no timetable provided for Smith’s return, one report stated the team expects him back around Christmas.
Smith wasn’t the lone Sixers rookie to get a bit of good injury news. Shake Milton, who was recovering from a stress fracture in his back, was cleared for limited contact and is progressing to full clearance without limitations.
“Basically it’s been a long journey, but it feels good to just be at a point where I can get out there and start doing some 5-on-5 stuff,” second-round selection Milton said. “I’ll be full-go for training camp, but they’ll be pulling in and out and kind of just monitoring the load that I’m taking.”
Landry Shamet, the No. 26 overall pick in June by the Sixers, has also been fully cleared from a right ankle sprain he suffered during the team’s first summer league game.