Dayton Flyers guard Malachi Smith and Koby Brea will undergo surgeries this spring to repair injuries they played through last season, UD announced Monday.
Smith, a sophomore guard, will have reconstructive surgeries on both ankles. He will have his right ankle repaired Thursday and the left ankle operated on approximately 10 weeks later.
Brea, a third-year guard who has two seasons of eligibility remaining, will have rods inserted into both of his legs to address stress fractures he dealt with in his tibias over the last year. His surgery will take place April 6.
After UD’s announcement Monday, Brea wrote on Twitter, “To start off, I just want to thank God for allowing me to play and finish this last season when I know there was a chance of that not happening. After being out most of the summer last year, I didn’t know if I’d be able to play last season or not but one thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to.
“Although I’ve never been one to complain or back down, there were days I simply didn’t know if I’d be able to get through due to the injury. The whole year I didn’t feel like I was close to being at my best but as a competitor I just wanted to be out on the floor competing with my teammates for something bigger than me. I’m grateful for all the people I have around me that have helped me behind the scenes throughout this process and I can’t wait to be healthy and be at my best. Thank you to everybody that has beel spreading love, it truly means a lot to me. And even though, I’m nervous, I’m not worried because I know that God got me.”
The health issues of Smith and Brea played a p
art in Dayton deciding not to pursue a postseason opportunity in the NIT. Two other guards, Mike Sharavjamts and Kobe Elvis, were dealing with injuries at the end of the season as well.
UD also announced, “No other surgeries are planned for any other members of the Flyer basketball team.”
Brea and Smith are two of seven remaining scholarship players on Dayton’s roster after three players —Mustapha Amzil, R.J. Blakney and Richard Amaefule — entered the transfer portal last week. The 2023 recruiting class has two freshmen in it at the moment: Vasilije Erceg, a 6-foot-10 forward from Novi Sad, Serbia; and Jaiun Simon, a 6-7 forward from Mableton, Ga. Dayton has four open scholarships for the 2023-24 season.
Smith has battled ankle issues through his two seasons at Dayton.
• In his freshman season, Smith injured his left ankle in the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament semifinals. He was unable to play in the second half in a loss to Richmond and missed both games in the NIT.
• Smith missed the first three games of the season after injuring his right ankle in October. That injury cost him most of the preseason practices.
• Smith then sprained his left ankle in the final moments of the second half on Nov. 25 during a 79-75 overtime loss to Brigham Young in the Battle 4 Atlantis. He missed the next 11 games before returning to play against Davidson on Jan. 17.
“It meant a lot (to play again),” Smith said. “Coming back from injury again, it was a lot. It was rough these past couple of months. I’m just happy to play basketball. I just wanted to get back on the court.”
• Smith hurt his left ankle again in the second half in a 68-59 loss at St. Bonaventure on Feb. 4 and did not play in the next game at Virginia Commonwealth but returned to play in the final nine games.
Smith averaged 7.7 points and 5.6 assists in 19 games after averaging 9.3 points and 5.3 assists in 33 games as a freshman.
Smith’s dad, Elliot Rosado, wrote about his season on Instagram earlier this month.
“Through out all your injuries & health issues this season you never once complained,” Rosado wrote. “I watched you work your (butt) off every time you were set back to make sure you get back to help your team. You had the option of having surgery & sit out the rest of the season. You said NO I want to help my team. We are all proud of you. But you know our motto. No Excuses, and the best part of it all is knowing we have work to do. Love you, Son.”
Brea averaged 6.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in 28 games after averaging 8.1 points and 2.9 rebounds in 35 games in his second season. He missed almost all of last summer’s practices and all of the preseason with what he and coach Anthony Grant described as a “lower-body injury.” He returned to play in the fourth game of the season at UNLV but then missed four games with an illness.
Brea shed some light on what he’s been through after a 77-49 loss at Virginia Tech.
“It’s been really difficult,” Brea said. “This has been probably one of the hardest years of my life. Being out four months, I’ve never been out that long, and then being hit with a sickness once I started to get back into it. I’m the type of person who’s going to be able to get through all of this, but it’s going to take time.”
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