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Amid the flurry of NBA offseason moves, we have seen and heard very little of Stephen A. Smith, which is a rarity for a man who has a near ubiquitous presence on ESPN’s airwaves throughout the sports calendar.
The last time Smith was on television was in a remote hit on July 1, when Kevin Durant made his trade request from the Brooklyn Nets. As many noticed, Smith appeared to have a sling on his shoulder and wasn’t in studio, which indicated he was calling in from home and was dealing with an injury of some kind. After two weeks without Smith on air, ESPN’s biggest name let fans know what was going on, as he explained he was rehabbing from shoulder surgery due to a variety of ailments, including a partially torn rotator cuff and bicep.
Appreciate the love I’ve been receiving from everyone who’s missed me on @FirstTake. I’m out because I’m rehabbing from shoulder surgery. Partial tear — rotator cuff AND Bicep, along with frayed Labrum, plus a Bone Spur. Aging sucks, but it is what it is. Back next month.#AllLove
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) July 14, 2022
Smith says he’ll be back next month, but one can bet that if anything major happens, like Durant getting actually traded, Smith will call in to offer his thoughts on the matter, because he is not one to let any big moment go by without getting his two cents in. The way Smith does TV, with over the top gestures to really emphasize his points, it’s for the best that he takes some time off so as not to aggravate that shoulder during what is mostly a down time in the sports calendar. Hopefully Smith can make a speedy recovery and we can all appreciate him playing hurt on the start of free agency by calling in despite having his shoulder in a sling, and we’ll look forward to him being back in full by the start of the NFL season. There’s no word as to whether ESPN will look to get him some rehab starts on smaller shows before returning to First Take to work his way back into TV shape.