Nolan Smith Injury: Updates on Blazers Guard's Head Injury

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistJuly 18, 2012

MEMPHIS, TN - APRIL 21:  Nolan Smith #4 of the Portland Trail Blazers dribbles the ball against the Memphis Grizzlies during the NBA game at FedExForum on April 21, 2012 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers guard Nolan Smith suffered a head injury on Tuesday in an NBA Summer League game against the Houston Rockets.

The injury came as he was driving to the rim for a layup. Rockets guard Zoran Dragic dropped an accidental elbow to Smith’s head. The Portland star staggered to and hit the stanchion with his head before collapsing to the floor.

NBA writer Joe Freeman of The Oregonian is reporting about the incident and Smith’s diagnosis:

Nolan Smith was wheeled off the arena floor on a stretcher and rushed to an area hospital after taking an elbow to the head and collapsing to the court…Smith suffered a concussion during the incident, but was released from the hospital late Tuesday night after CT scan results came back normal and he had full range of motion.

While this was a very scary incident, the quick actions of the medical staff in the arena meant that Smith stayed calm and did not sustain any further damage.

The team will continue to check on the former No. 21 overall pick’s condition, but all signs point to a minor concussion with little long-term ramifications.


What It Means

For the time being, Portland will do its best to limit Smith’s action for the next week or so before analyzing him again. As much as the team will not rush him back, the Trail Blazers need the young guard on the court as often as possible.

Smith showed glimpses of the star we saw at Duke during his college career, but Portland was hoping for so much more from its young prospect.

The more time he spends on the floor with NBA-level talent, the better he will be for the fans of the Trail Blazers.


What’s Next?

With the scrutiny on concussions across all sports, there is little doubt that both the team doctors and possibly even league officials will want to clear Smith before allowing him to return to action.

In the grand scheme of things, that’s the way it should be.

All leagues should look at the possibility of forcing all athletes that suffer concussions to be cleared by a third-party, league-supported doctor. If this is adopted, there would be less chance that players would be able to hurt themselves further.


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