ESPN may have to hit the transfer portal to replace its MVP candidate of First Take.
Stephen A. Smith announced on Thursday that he’ll be off air for around a month. Smith says that he’s rehabbing after shoulder surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff and bicep as well as a frayed labrum. He also had a bone spur.
Appreciate the love I’ve been receiving from everyone who’s missed me on @FirstTake. I’m out because I’m rehabbing from shoulder surgery. Partial tear — rotator cuff AND Bicep, along with frayed Labrum, plus a Bone Spur. Aging sucks, but it is what it is. Back next month.#AllLove
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) July 14, 2022
Domonque Foxworth recently filled in for Smith on First Take and made a memorable moment of his own. The NFL veteran tore into co-host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo over Russo’s questioning of why NBA stars could force trades.
But Smith is undoubtedly the star of the show and a ratings monster. In recent months, Smith has made headlines by disavowing the New York Knicks. He also got into a Twitter beef with Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving, and he announced that he once thought about running for senate.
Now fans will have to deal with at least a few weeks of ESPN First Take without Smith. Though NBA fans are cracking up over the reasoning for Smith’s absence.
82-game season is too much! https://t.co/RuMtNyBqHC
— Detroit Griot (@JustCallmeBHunt) July 14, 2022
man threw his shoulder out of place with all that reaching https://t.co/np96cLCLZd
— yes. (@iAmTerrace) July 14, 2022
Stephen “Street Clothes” A Smith https://t.co/GC5wT6iCRQ
— T’Challa Variant (@isupplychain_) July 14, 2022
Though others assumed that the gregarious host would just find another way to take part in the daily morning show.
Ahaha via Zoom Stephen A Loading https://t.co/4JRBuydm2M
— DJ Ez DicC🐶 (@LeaveItToBeav31) July 14, 2022
Some are even reporting that Smith does not, in fact, have that dog in him.
In all seriousness, Smith’s absence is a huge loss for the network. He’s one of sports television’s most compelling figures, for better or worse. Though regular co-host JJ Redick may appreciate a short respite from Smith’s incessant yelling.