The Dallas Mavericks are 0-2 after falling to the Sacramento Kings Friday night. It was the second straight loss at home and against a team expected to be in the lottery.
Yet for many (myself included), the real dark cloud over all this was the news that Dallas’ prized rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. would miss time with a knee effusion. I had to look this up, because medical jargon might as well be Klingon to me, but apparently that means Smith has swelling in one of his knees, which is something Mavs fans might expect to hear about 57-year-old Dirk Nowitzki occasionally, but not so much a 19-year-old who’s barely begun his NBA career.
For a real scare, take a look at this tweet from @ChuckP (who is a doctor):
List of benign things that cause knee effusions:— Charles (@TheChuckP) October 21, 2017
Nothing. There’s nothing
Before you find the nearest tall object to hurl yourself off of, Rick Carlisle answered questions about the Smith Jr. injury after the King’s game, and seemed to indicate that the injury was “not serious”, and something the team had been aware of throughout training camp:
Carlisle says Smith had swelling through parts of training camp, a “symptom of having ACL tear” in HS. Mavs knew of this when drafted him.— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) October 21, 2017
So, hopefully, this is just a minor blip on the radar for what will be an exciting rookie season for Dennis. Still, you’ll forgive me if I’m a little hesitant to simply write this off as no big deal. Perhaps I’m still traumatized by the Chandler Parsons experience. Is it normal for an athlete to have swelling from an injury nearly two years later? I don’t know, obviously.
What I do know is that Smith is an aggressive player who just in the handful of summer league, preseason and regular season games has already had several dangerous-looking mid-air collisions, the sort of which make some kind of injury look inevitable rather than just possible.
As fun as he is to watch, I would hope he maybe tones that down a little, because he’s going to shorten his career trying to make bigger guys look foolish like that on a regular basis. Save it for the 2023 Western Conference Finals, kid.
Smith has already been ruled out for Saturday’s matchup with Houston, and as of yet there has been no word of when he might return. Undoubtedly, the team will be cautious with him, given how important he is not just to the future of the franchise, but (if Friday’s poor showing is any indication) the immediate future of the team this season.
It wasn’t difficult to imagine a scenario where the 2017-18 Dallas Mavericks lost a fair share of games, but to lose their mega-hyped rookie as well would be a truly disheartening setback. Let’s hope DSJ can get healthy and back on the court, soon.