Nebraska Cornhuskers forward Leslee Smith will be sidelined indefinitely after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee, the school announced Tuesday. A timetable for his recovery has not been set, and it’s likely Smith will miss the beginning of the 2014-15 season.
Smith suffered the injury on July 3 while playing for the British Virgin Islands in the FIBA Caribbean Championships. Prior to the injury, he had averaged 7.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game while the team went 2-0. Afterwards, they didn’t win again and ended up finishing fourth in the tournament.
This is the second time that Smith has suffered the injury. Back in 2011, when he was a member of the SMU Mustangs, Smith tore the ACL in his right knee and missed significant time. Eventually, he would transfer from SMU to Nebraska, where he played his first season under Tim Miles last year.
As a junior, Smith averaged 5.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game coming off the bench for the Cornhuskers. He played more early in the season before conference play started, but was expected to help hold down the frontcourt in Lincoln during the upcoming season.
It’s certainly disappointing news for Nebraska, which is coming off its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1998. The Cornhuskers still have two of their best players returning in Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields, but will need depth to compete in the tough Big Ten next season. Without Smith, guys like Walter Pitchford and David Rivers will be leaned on even more to produce in the frontcourt for Miles.