Arizona media day

Ray Smith records a Snapchat video for a media member while having a laugh with Chance Comanche.

Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star

Injury bug hits Wildcats again, this time in basketball

Two months into the athletic season, Arizona has lost three of its premier athletes to disabling knee injuries: linebacker Scooby Wright, softball outfielder Alyssa Palomino and now basketball’s Ray Smith.

Wright may never play another down at Arizona, preferring to enter the NFL draft next spring. But for Palamino and Smith, there is more reason for optimism: they will likely redshirt and effectively be part of the recruiting Class of 2016, instead of 2015.

If ever there was a time to be injured, now’s the time.

The most serious knee injury in UA basketball history was Steve Kerr’s blown ACL during the semifinals of the 1986 world championships in Spain. By redshirting in 1986-87, Kerr returned to lead Arizona to the 1988 Final Four. The rest has become an almost magical tale of success.

Kerr was a notable exception, however. In 1977, Arizona sophomore basketball forward Robbie Dosty, who had the look of a future NBA player, averaging 11 points as a UA sophomore, wrecked his knee in a car accident and was never the same.

After sitting out the 1978-79 season, Dosty averaged just 1.9 as a junior. He lost part of his quickness and jumping ability. He did not play in the NBA.

Ray Smith will benefit from 35 years of progress in medical technology and treatment unavailable to young Robbie Dosty. If it all works out, Smith will be a productive UA sophomore or junior in March 2018 or 2019.

Saturday morning, Sean Miller issued a 135-word statement on Smith’s

Sports columnist for the Arizona Daily Star.