After an unlucky ACL tear in high school, Dennis Smith Jr. has not only put it behind him, but came back even stronger.
It was August 2, 2015 and Dennis Smith Jr. drove the lane in the Adidas Nations semifinals where he came up with a knee injury.
It was later revealed to be a torn ACL and a six to nine month recovery time according to ESPN.
Smith was the 4th overall prospect and number one overall point guard of the 2016 class when he went down with the knee injury. He had not yet committed to N.C. State and was unsure of how an explosive player like himself would return from the injury.
Now, 22 months after the injury, it’s a thing of the past.
“I think I proved it a tremendous amount,” Smith Jr. said at his introductory press conference when asked about coming back from his ACL injury.
"“I came back more explosive. My vertical increased by eight inches…I just control what I can control and that’s all I worry about. Next year, or two years out, I think it will keep increasing if I continue to work,” Smith Jr. said."
Doing the math, Smith Jr. is on the record of having a current 48 inch vertical. So, basically he had a 40 inch vertical when he went down with the injury and now has a 48 inch vertical entering the league.
Just a few days after the draft, this video on Twitter surfaced of him showing off that vertical.
I think it is safe to say the ACL is behind him.
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When Smith Jr. was asked at the press conference about the effects of the injury felt last year at N.C. State, Smith Jr. made it clear that it wasn’t even a thing.
“I felt good. I dealt with the normal things like shin splints. That’s probably about it with the ACL injury. That was very common. That’s the only problem I had. My knee never swelled up, I never missed a game. I didn’t miss any practices. So I feel very well physically,” Smith Jr. said.
Not a single practice or game missed for Smith Jr. just over a year past the injury. That is highly impressive considering the type of explosive player that Smith Jr. is.
This August will obviously mark two years since Smith Jr. tore his ACL in high school and it seems like just another previous injury to him.
For people impressed by his 48 inch vertical, it might keep going up based off his first quote above on it increasing as time goes on and he puts in the work. Can you imagine him with a 50 inch vertical?
Armed with more explosion and a higher vertical, it’s safe to say that Dennis Smith Jr.’s past ACL injury is a thing of the past.