2016 Cavs champ claps back at those blaming Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse for Dru Smith’s season-ending injury

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Richard Jefferson, who won an NBA title with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, doesn’t seem to agree with those blaming Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse for the season-ending injury that Miami Heat guard Dru Smith suffered on Wednesday.

It seems like there may be multiple tenable viewpoints here. Obviously, countless games have been played on the floor without issue, as Jefferson pointed out. However, Smith’s injury highlights the fact that there is an element of danger present, even if it’s slim.

Even though Smith’s injury was a complete accident, one has to imagine that the Cavs — and the NBA at large — would want to eliminate such a hazard so that no other players get accidentally injured in the future.

Smith’s injury occurred when the guard jumped to contest a corner 3-point attempt by Max Strus in the second quarter of Wednesday’s contest between Cleveland and Miami. When Smith landed, his foot slipped off the playing surface underneath the Cavs bench. The court is slightly elevated, and as a result, there is a ledge outside of the playing area.

After the game, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra ripped the floor in Cleveland and blamed it directly for Smith’s injury.

“It’s a dangerous floor,” Spoelstra said. “I don’t know the history of injuries here, but we’ve had a couple near scares in previous years when guys are closing out in that corner. Thankfully, nobody’s been injured before, but it’s an accident waiting to happen. You close out and all of a sudden you’re going off a cliff. It’s just so dangerous. As soon as he stayed down, we all knew that’s probably what happened.”

Smith probably won’t actually pursue legal action as some have suggested, but it’s definitely unfortunate that his campaign has been cut so short, as he had provided a nice spark off the bench for Miami early on. Smith appeared in nine total games for the Heat this season and averaged 4.3 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 14.6 minutes per performance.

Miami will now have to lean on its depth to make up for Smith’s injury. Through 16 games on the season, the Heat sit at 10-6, which is good for fifth in the Eastern Conference.

In addition to Smith, some other Heat players are also banged up, including Tyler Herro, who has been sidelined for a couple of weeks with an ankle sprain. Herro’s eventual return to game action will be a big boost to a Heat team looking to remain in the thick of the playoff picture in the conference.

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Michael is an experienced writer and reporter who has been covering the NBA since before LeBron James decided to take his talents to South Beach. He wore No. 41 on his high school basketball team partly because of Glen Rice's days as a sharpshooter for the Heat, and he is still a proponent of the midrange game.