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J.R. Smith suffers potentially major knee injury in China

Nov 20, 2011, 7:55 PM EDT

Nuggets guard Smith celebrates a three-point shot in their NBA basketball game against the Timberwolves in Denver

This is the nightmare scenario, for both teams and players.

Nuggets swingman J.R. Smith has apparently suffered a knee injury in his first game for his Chinese team, Zhejiang. It was a non-contact injury as he cut into the lane. We do not yet know the extent of the injury (you can watch the video below) but according to he could not walk on his own and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

Smith would have been a free agent after his stint in China and would have been sought after as probably the best scoring guard available in this free agent class. The Nuggets were expected to try to keep him but a lot of teams could use a potential sixth man of the year like Smith, so he would have been in demand.

If this is a serious injury, it could keep him out for most if not all of this coming season. It also would put a real damper on his ability to get that big next contract, what likely would have been the biggest of his career.

It is the risk players have going overseas (and why them getting insurance for their deals has been a big deal). It’s the risk owners run as more and more players look overseas, key cogs in their future could be injured and set back.

The highlight of the injury is at the :25 mark of this video (via

  1. hellinisamoron - Nov 20, 2011 at 8:16 PM

    Hellin. Look in the mirror. Only you would spin it as a nightmare for players and owners. This is clearly an issue for the players. The guy may have just ended his career in China. Yes China. Playing overseas has never been a real option. What a joke. You are complicit in this entire thing supporting a stance by the players that is ludicrous. The players need to be saved from themselves. Just don’t understand how good they have even under a new CBA that would be more favorable for the owners.

    • stadix093 - Nov 20, 2011 at 8:43 PM

      I think it would be safe to say if D Rose or KD went down, it would also be bad for an owner. I think everyone in this stupid situation needs to be saved from themselves. Greed, hubris and stubbornness are running this show.

  2. cowboyfaninut - Nov 20, 2011 at 9:00 PM

    With the players playing overseas it shows that their are other options besides the nba so their antitrust suit haa no merit. The players need to get the agents out of the way and agree to a deal.

  3. hellinisamoron - Nov 20, 2011 at 9:58 PM

    Yes. But it’s not KD or Rose. It’s Smith which makes his comment ridiculous, Hellin should kick in to cover the money JR will lose since he is such a proponent of the players position. Or should I say the union. We will never know what the players would have voted for.

  4. jonrambo - Nov 20, 2011 at 10:38 PM

    I agree. Yeah, the players need a bigger share of the pot yet the league owns the hornets because they are unsustainable and no one wants them(under the current conditions). Heard about any billionaires lining up to buy them? I hope the players feel they won this thing when there’s less franchises/opportunities after this is over. Or let’s just make it like baseball and have half the league perpetually uncompetitive, oh wait, were already almost there.

  5. leearmon - Nov 20, 2011 at 10:58 PM

    I think you inadvertently hit the nail on the head. There are too many teams in the NBA. The Hornets should most definitely be contracted as well as the Kings for starters. That would solve many of the issues at hand. Sure it would cost some players their jobs, but it would also make the overall product better, and make everyone (fans included) happy. As for the bigger issue, J.R. Smith’s injury hurts owners and players. Yes it does give players pause about playing overseas. But if forced to, players will overlook Smith’s injury, and focus on guys like Tony Parker, who has been playing great, as well as other players who are playing now. Like stadix093 said, if Kobe, Lebron Durant, Blake or any other top player were to be injured, owners of those teams would be freaking out, ready to act because they know those players bring in big $$$ to their pockets. Also lets not act as if these guys don’t play ball in their spare time anyway. As you saw, Smith’s injury was completely freakish by nature. He didn’t bump knees with another player, it just gave out.

    And this notion that basketball is in danger of being like baseball is a joke. People continue to think the NFL is king of “competitive balance” partly due to their hard cap, and owner friendly rules. Note, baseball’s structure is much like the NBA. No hard cap, guaranteed contracts etc. And while the NFL has fooled most of you thinking they have the greatest turnaround. Fact is that since 2000 there have been 9 different Super Bowl champions, the exact same amount as World Series champions. So while many think the NFL is running away with “competitive balance” is not nearly as much as you think.

  6. entropy13 - Nov 21, 2011 at 5:40 AM

    I don’t think the wording used is appropriate. I mean, any player can be injured even during times he’s not playing, hence “playing overseas”, which you insist could be a “nightmare” for players, is just as much a “nightmare” as “not playing at all.” Remember Boozer’s injury before last season (2010-2011) started?

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