Losing a key two-way player, an all-region performer and talented multi-sport athlete is tough enough for any team.
For Perry and KJ Smith, it’s even worse. They don’t know why.
Smith has been inactive since the end of spring practice and may be a week or two from being done for the season, and as of Thursday afternoon, he can’t say why.
The senior receiver/defensive back underwent a biopsy earlier this week and results remain unknown, according to Perry head coach Erik Soliday. That goes along with a theme: Smith goes to a doctor, and the ailment remains undiagnosed.
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Smith underwent pre-op procedures on Monday and the biopsy Tuesday. Soliday said he hadn’t seen Smith since and figured he was a little nervous until the results came in. Smith was on the sidelines Saturday as his teammates knocked off Monroe 21-14 in Albany.
Smith began feeling somewhat lethargic near the end of spring practice, and the situation worsened.
“You could tell a difference,” Soliday said. “He just didn’t seem like he was his same old self. I think he just felt like he was losing strength and energy and whatnot.”
Smith, a standout basketball player and student, has lost a little weight from his 6-foot, 170-pound frame.
Perry is off this week and takes on Class AAA No. 7 Peach County next week. Soliday admitted that at this point, the Panthers have to play the season with the expectation that Smith won’t be in uniform.
“That’s kind of what we’re figuring,” said Soliday, who has raved about what kind of kid Smith is. “He hasn’t been able to do anything. It would take awhile to get back in shape and get back into the groove of things.
“If he does come back, it’ll be a bonus. But there’s a good possibility he’s probably not going to.”