Ray Smith is about to hit another milestone in his recovery from a torn ACL.
Arizona Wildcats head coach Sean Miller told Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports that Smith will be cleared for 'everything except contact' when he gets back to school on August 21.
Arizona's Ray Smith (knee) will be cleared for everything except contact when he returns to school on 8/21, Sean Miller told @CBSSports.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) August 15, 2016
Smith tore his ACL in his right knee back in October forcing him to miss his entire freshman season. The former five-star recruit also missed his senior season in high school because of a torn ACL in his left knee.
What's interesting is Miller told Rothstein in late July that Smith would be cleared for full-contact drills sometime in August, but apparently Smith will have to wait a bit longer for that to happen.
There's absolutely no reason to believe there's been a setback, as it's more likely that Arizona and Smith are being overly cautious (which is understandable) or Smith's recovery is going a little slower than originally anticipated.
Nonetheless, with the regular season still about three months away, Smith has plenty of time to not only be cleared for full-contract drills, but also to get up to game speed, so even if the latter is true, it's probably not a huge deal.
"I have time, that's the beautiful thing," Smith said in February. "I can take my time, get [my knee] as strong as I can, and then once I feel like I’m ready and I have the confidence, I’ll be able to go strong."
The redshirt freshman is expected to be a major contributor for the Wildcats in the upcoming season, possibly starting at either the small forward or power forward position.
"Ray is a terrific athlete who can really get up and down the floor," Miller said in a statement on National Signing Day in 2014. "He has the size you want as a small forward, and he can really pass, shoot and dribble. He’s a very skilled basketball player with great size."
Smith was listed at 6-foot-8, 180 pounds on National Signing Day in 2014, but is now officially listed at 210 pounds, though Smith said a few months ago that he weighs 220 pounds and wants to eventually get to 225 pounds.
Smith's first chance to return to game action is on October 14 when the Wildcats have their annual Red-Blue game.
Smith scored eight points in 20 minutes in the Red-Blue game last season, but tore his ACL just a few days later, effectively shutting him down for his freshman season.
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