In the Arizona Wildcats’ 86-35 blowout win over College of Idaho in the team’s first exhibition, everything was trumped the second sophomore guard Ray Smith went down with an apparently serious knee injury.
After going to the locker room twice earlier in the game, Smith crumpled underneath the south basket in the second half, and was unable to get himself up.
While Sean Miller did not say what the extent of the injury was, he did not make it sound like it was any good.
“We don’t really know exactly what happened,” Miller said after the game. “Certainly it didn’t look good. We’ll know more in the next couple of days.”
Smith has previously torn an ACL twice — once in each knee — which kept him out of his senior year in high school and his freshman year of college.
“We’ve been with him for a couple of years now, watching him fight and going through surgery is hard enough,” Miller said. “Rehab’s even harder, doing it more than once, and not being able to play the game that you love.”
This was the first time that Smith had been able to play in a game that wasn’t the Red-Blue Game since arriving at Arizona.
Although Smith had gone back to the locker room twice before the final incident, the medical staff had cleared him to return to the game each time.
“He seemed fine, but he was cleared to go back out there,” Miller continued. “I don’t know if what happened to him the second time had anything to do with what happened to him the first time.”
Sean Miller on Ray Smith pic.twitter.com/cm83TFun3Y— AZ Desert Swarm (@azdesertswarm) November 2, 2016
The injury made the 51-point win feel like a loss in Coach Miller’s eyes.
“It will just because of watching Ray,” he explained. “It’s hard to take. It’s hard for his family. It’s hard for him number one. It’s hard for his teammates.”
“It’s heartbreaking. I don’t have any words to really couch it or make it better than it really is. It’s awful.”
What else is awful is what Smith tweeted after the game.
Thanks to all the fans but I'm blessed man to even be where I am. One of my lil bros from vegas was murdered in his apartment the other day.— Ray Smith (@raysmith2297) November 2, 2016
@raysmith2297 I'm thankful for what god has given me. End of discussion. Thank you but save the sorrows.— Ray Smith (@raysmith2297) November 2, 2016
Our thoughts are with you.