By Drew Packham, NBA.com
LAS VEGAS — Portland guard Nolan Smith was all smiles Saturday, four days after being carted off the court on a stretcher on the same Cox Pavilion floor.
Smith, who suffered a concussion and was taken to the hospital after a hard foul, talked about the play and the thoughts running through his head while he was on the ground.
“I was definitely out of it, but I was just listening to the doctors,” Smith said. “I wanted to walk away, but they kept telling me I had to stay down.
“I never think the worst,” the second-year guard said. “I always try to stay positive. They just said it was a procedure they had to do and I kept telling myself I’d be walking out of the hospital.”
Smith did walk out of the hospital later that night after tests came back normal, but said he had to calm down his mom and older sister.
“My sister was crying, especially the way they had to cover me up and stabilize me,” Smith said. “They were scared, you know, and at one point I finally just said. ‘I’m OK.’ She didn’t like seeing little brother like that.”
Smith sat out the Blazers’ final three Summer League games and will wait at least a week before getting back on the court to prepare for the upcoming season.
The Duke product enters his second season hoping to see more playing time in the backcourt after a rookie campaign in which he played 44 games, averaging 3.8 points in 12.3 minutes.
“I just can’t wait to get back on the court,” Smith said. “From there, I’ll just keep playing with the same confidence and just being aggressive. That’s when I’m at my best. This injury isn’t going to slow me down.”
In two games in Las Vegas, Smith averaged 18.5 points on 58.3 percent shooting and had 27 points, five rebounds and five assists against the Rockets before the injury.
“I showed myself and the organization who I am as a player in just two games,” Smith said.