J.R. Smith, the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year last season, will start the season on the sideline, recovering from surgery to his patellar tendon and arthroscopy to repair a tear in the lateral meniscus of his left knee.
Just what the Knicks need as Brooklyn reloads with a new coach (Jason Kidd) and championship players (Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett).
Smith’s injuries were chronic in nature and grew progressively worse over time, the Knicks said. He will be out up to four months, meaning he could return as late as Nov. 15. This news comes a week after he re-signed with the team for four years at $24.7-million.
A league source told ESPNNewYork.com that the Knicks were aware Smith likely would need surgery for his left knee, which started bothering him during the playoffs.
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“Re-signing J.R. was one of our primary goals this offseason, and we are thrilled to have him back,” Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald said in a statement. “He made great strides this past season with his consistent play off the bench for us, and we look forward to his continued growth.”
The 27-year-old Smith, who averaged career-highs in points at 18.1 and minutes at 33.5, became just the third player in franchise history to win the Sixth Man Award, joining John Starks and Anthony Mason.
This past October, Smith’s younger brother, Chris, who’s currently playing on the Knicks’ summer league team in Las Vegas, underwent left patellar tendon surgery.