Are the Sixers rookies cursed? Or is it just plain bad luck?
Zhaire Smith, the 16th overall pick in June's draft, is expected to undergo surgery after injuring his left foot. He suffered the injury while working out at a development camp in Las Vegas on Monday.
Smith hasn't seen team doctors but was diagnosed with a Jones fracture after undergoing an MRI. (What's a Jones fracture? It's when you break a bone near the base of your foot, on the side with the pinky toe.)
There's no timetable for his recovery — the date for the surgery isn't even known yet — but based on the Sixers' recent history, it's not surprising if fans start to fear the worst.
In case you've forgotten, here's a look at all the other Sixers rookies who were sidelined early in their pro careers. Cue the déjà vu.
Noel had his rights traded to the Sixers on draft night. He was coming off a torn ACL (suffered while playing for Kentucky in February) but was still picked sixth overall. The then-19-year-old ended up missing all of the 2013-14 season, even though his surgeon deemed him "ahead of schedule" that June.
Noel would end up making his NBA debut at the start of the 2014-15 season. He played in 75 of 82 games that year as the Sixers went 18-64.
In February 2017 — following a series of disagreements and injuries during the first half of the season — Noel was traded to the Mavericks.
On June 20, 2014, Embiid had surgery on his foot. On June 26, 2014, Embiid was picked third overall by the Sixers in the NBA draft. Thus marked a seemingly never-ending saga.
Embiid missed all of the 2014-15 season because of the broken bone in his right foot. Fans hoped to see him on the court in 2015, but that wouldn't happen. That June, news trickled out that the foot didn't heal and he'd likely miss all of the 2015-16 season, which ended up being the case. (Later, it was reported he'd broken his foot again.)
After two long years of process trusting, Embiid made his NBA debut when he started in the 2016 season opener in October. He made it all the way to the all-star break before getting injured again, this time suffering a torn meniscus and a bone bruise. The Sixers shut him down for the rest of the season in March.
Finally, in 2017, Embiid would play his first full season in the NBA. It ended well for all parties: the Sixers won 52 games and made it to the second round of the NBA playoffs before losing to the Celtics in five games.
Simmons was picked first overall by the Sixers in 2016, and nearly made it through training camp unscathed. In a scrimmage in September, Simmons broke his right foot — he suffered a Jones fracture, just like Smith. He had surgery and the team expected him to miss at least three months but maybe more.
He did end up missing all of the 2016-17 season and made his NBA debut in the 2017-18 season opener. He appeared in all but one regular season game and despite the Sixers' struggle in their playoff series vs. Boston, the year ended on a high note: Simmons is the reigning rookie of the year.
Ah, where to begin? The Sixers traded up in the draft to pick Fultz at No. 1 (The Celtics, who took Philly's No. 3 pick, took Jayson Tatum instead). He played just 14 games in his rookie campaign, which is more than Noel, Simmons and Embiid combined. After appearing in the first four games of the season, he missed the next 68, returning in March for the final 10 games of the regular season.