Van-Far and ETSU standout Mike Smith’s journey of someday playing in the NBA hit a road block on November 14 when he broke his right hand in the metacarpus during a team scrimmage.
Smith, who was selected just 12 days earlier by the Iowa Energy in the NBA D-League draft, broke the area of his shooting hand around his ring finger on what he describes as a “weird” play near the end of the game’s first quarter.
He was playing defense and attempted to steal a long pass. He lost his balance and tried to use his hand to regain his balance. Smith unfortunately jammed his fingers into the ground and his hand was broken.
This was the first major injury he’s suffered since a stress fracture in his tibia that caused him to miss his entire senior season at ETSU.
“I really didn’t recognize it until it started swelling up,” Smith added. “I continued to play because I thought it was just a jammed finger. Eventually I couldn’t go no more and the trainer almost guaranteed me that I had broken my hand. Two days later I had surgery and had four screws put int.”
The injury requires five to sixe weeks of recovery time. He’s currently rehabilitating hi hand through the doctor who performed his surgery, working on his basic range of motion.
“I still have a great chance to play in the league when I get healthy,” he said. “All that stuff will come around when I get healthy.”
While Smith’s focus is on the NBA D-League, he said his agent will have everything lined up for him.
“I’m not really sure right now (of the next step), whether it be back with the Energy or back overseas, I am just ready to play some ball,” Smith exclaimed.
He added that he’s thankful for the support he’s received during his recovery.
“My family and fiancé have been nothing but supportive of me,” Smith said. “In a time like this you just have to stay positive and keep pushing forward.”
The Iowa Energy are currently second from the bottom in the Central Division with a 2-3 record. They are led by Georgetown’s Chris Wright, who leads the team averaging 21 points per game.