Miami Heat guard Dru Smith has yet to have a breakout campaign in the NBA. He will have to wait a while before he gets another chance because of the season-ending injury he suffered in the Heat’s recent matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The 25-year-old was diagnosed with an ACL sprain after landing outside the edge of the Cavs’ elevated court. He was attempting to block a 3-point shot by former Heat sharpshooter Max Strus.
Dru Smith injured on coaches clipboard pic.twitter.com/5BJc7UbKjt
— Bones (@Bones4y) November 23, 2023
Apparently, Smith had already noticed the unusual floor design during Miami’s practice on Wednesday. However, he said that at that moment, he didn’t think of how dangerous the drop-off would be, especially during the game.
“I remember during walkthrough when I sat there to get ready for shootaround, just kind of thinking like, ‘Oh, this court’s kind of weird, the drop-off, just the separation between the bench and the court,'” Smith told the Sun Sentinel.
“But, you know, when you’re playing, you’re not thinking about where I was going to land or if I was going to miss the court. I think that’s the only court that’s like that, really.”
As it turns out, the hazard the court posed was real, even if former Cavs champion Richard Jefferson has insisted that Smith slipping was an accident. The Heat have reportedly contacted the league office to express their concern about the floor at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. It remains to be seen, though, what will come of it.
Unfortunately for Smith, even if the NBA addresses the matter, it cannot turn back time for him. He stated that he is trying to come to terms with the injury, which is understandable considering that it has only been a few days since he got hurt.
“I’m frustrated, obviously,” Smith added. “I never want to be in this position. But it’s the hand that God gave me right now. So just trying to come to terms with that.”
Over a week before the Cavs contest, the undrafted pro out of the University of Missouri had arguably the best two-game stretch of his career, as he scored nine and 12 points against the Atlanta Hawks and San Antonio Spurs, respectively. Those were the middle two contests of Miami’s recent four-game road trip that the team came out of unbeaten.
The following matches saw Smith either play little minutes or not see the court at all. Even so, he still felt like he was in a good spot.
“I feel like I was in a good spot,” he said of earning minutes with the Heat. “I was just looking forward to just continuing to be trusted with the minutes here and there, wherever that was going to be. And I think the more I was playing, the more comfortable I was getting. So, I was just really comfortable with that.
“But that’s not how this year is going to go for me.”
Hopefully, the team can find ways to bolster its roster in order to increase its odds of making it back to the Finals.