Updated: 2:29 a.m.
Rookie Zhaire Smith is not expected to return to the court this calendar year for the Sixers, per a team source.
Smith was initially sidelined after a suffering a Jones fracture in his left foot in August. In September, he underwent a thoracoscopy after having an allergic reaction.
In a statement from vice president of athlete care Daniel Medina, the team said Smith is "recovering well from complications derived from the allergic reaction that initially required a thoracoscopy."
The team knew Smith had a peanut allergy but later ran a full allergy panel on Smith and discovered multiple other allergies, including to sesame and different types of lettuce, per a source. The source said Smith's sesame allergy is what "really put him over the edge." While the team prepares Smith's food separately, it's possible he may have eaten food containing sesame at the Sixers facility before the team was aware of his sesame allergy.
While the allergies are no longer an immediate concern for Smith, his physical condition has deteriorated during his recovery from the allergic reaction and subsequent complications.
According to a team source, Smith has lost weight and needs to regain his strength and conditioning. The source said Smith would return to light, basketball-specific activities soon.
The delay in his return is entirely a result of the allergic reaction and complications, not because of any setbacks in the healing of his foot, a source said.
The Sixers acquired Smith in a draft-night trade along with the Miami Heat’s unprotected 2021 first-round pick in exchange for No. 10 pick Mikal Bridges.
In the long term, the Sixers believe the 6-foot-4 Smith can be a “special” player. He’s an exceptional athlete and rebounder for his size. However, the 19-year-old Smith isn’t expected to contribute much immediately upon returning; he’s transitioning from playing power forward at Texas Tech to playing on the wing in the NBA, and he doesn’t have an advanced offensive game at this early stage of his career.
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