Suns forward Dario Saric has a torn ACL in his right knee.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 7, 2021
Gut-wrenching. With the Sixers now long gone from the NBA playoffs, there were precious few storylines left for Philadelphia basketball fans to cling to. One of those was getting to watch one of the most likable players in recent memory, Dario Saric play some backup stretch big for the Phoenix Suns. But alas…nothing sweet these days. In his opening minutes of finals action during the Suns 118-105 game one win over the Milwaukee Bucks, Saric planted hard on a jump stop and his right knee gave out. He tried to give it a go for a play but at the first whistle, he checked himself out and accepted help walking to the locker room. He was shortly thereafter ruled out for the game.
Dario Saric is likely getting an MRI today on his right knee. The worry is for an ACL &/or a meniscal injury based on the inward collapse of his knee (valgus) on the landing. pic.twitter.com/XD1izFvllK
— ACL Recovery Club (@ACLrecoveryCLUB) July 7, 2021
One of the faces of Sam Hinkie’s “Process,” it was once a question if The Homie Dario would ever come over. Recall, the Sixers drafted Elfrid Payton 10th overall in 2014, with the suspicion the Orlando Magic were really high on the current Knicks’ guard. Then came the real extortion. Philly traded Payton to the Magic to move back to slots to select the rights to The Homie 12th, but he wouldn’t come over for two more seasons. As if that weren’t enough value, they also wound up adding two juicy second-rounders (from the Knicks) and amended some old fine print from the Andrew Bynum deal which would have sent a future first-rounder to Orlando, and allowed Philly to retain it. A subsequent front office would later use that pick to select Landry Shamet.
The Dario trade was a haul for Philadelphia, and after all of the chat about him never playing for the Sixers, it was a sweet redemption story to watch him blossom under former coach Brett Brown. The future was still so bright.
Are the 76ers going to the NBA Finals? … no BUT Dario Saric becomes the first process 76er to advance to the NBA Finals pic.twitter.com/5W5r7PB442
— Mismatch Philadelphia (@MismatchPhilly) July 1, 2021
Not only did he arrive for his NBA debut to jumpstart the 2016-2017 season, he finished as first runner-up for Rookie of the Year. The Croatian native would go on to win the hearts of fans with his jovial nature, his slick passing and sweet-shooting, as well as his mini-celebrations. Here, the encyclopedia of Dario’s celebrations, compiled by our Kevin Rice. Good luck watching some of those and not smiling, or crying. Ideally some of both.
It’s a brutal turn because watching him contribute for the Suns, not a close rival of the Sixers felt safe, felt comfortable. And he was part of some terrific bench lineups unlocked by 2021 runner up Coach of the Year and former Sixers assistant, Monty Williams.
dario-at-the-5 has been a cheat code for, approximately, forever. i’m still really in on ayton but phoenix has options to close with for sure. probably shifts depending on matchups, too. like, does dario-at-the-5 work as well if the lakers’ frontcourt is at full capacity?
— Dan Favale (@danfavale) March 3, 2021
It’s tempting to have a bit of a woe is me reaction here also:
Dario Saric reaching the Finals and instantly getting injured is The Process in a nutshell.
Prayers to the pic.twitter.com/W3ZzeLEe7q
— Sports Are Philly (@SportsArePhilly) July 7, 2021
Other names to watch in this series, are of course, Jrue Holiday, the Sixers former All-Star whose trade to New Orleans really kick-started the process. And Mikal Bridges, who was technically drafted by the Sixers in 2018 before the Suns traded up for him. But some fans might well have been rooting against both of Holiday and Bridges, in order to soothe an achey soul. Dario and Monty Williams, on the other hand, still tug at so many of our heart strings. The Homie is still a legend in Philadelphia.
This one really stinks.