NEW YORK -- J.R. Smith said he delayed having surgery on his knee until after he signed his contract with the New York Knicks because it "made more sense for my family."
"For one, I'm a father and I have two young children to look after," Smith said Monday. "It made more sense for my family to get a deal done before [surgery]."
Smith had surgery on his left knee a week after signing a three-year, $18 million contract with the Knicks. If he'd had surgery earlier in the summer, Smith might have been healthy enough to play in training camp. If he'd had surgery earlier in the summer, though, it might have impacted his value as a free agent.
The surgery, a patellar tendon repair and an arthroscopy for a tear in the lateral meniscus of his left knee, is expected to sideline him through training camp.
"Without a doubt, the best part about it was we had the support of the team," Smith said. "The team supported us, the [team doctor] supported us all on the decision. At the end of the day it was more of a family decision than anything else."
Smith spoke Monday for the first time since the NBA announced his five-game suspension for violating the league's anti-drug policy. He expressed remorse for the transgression and remained hopeful that he'd be healthy enough to play opening night.
"I more disappointed because I let my teammates and my coaches down more than anything. I let [Knicks owner and Madison Square Garden CEO James] Dolan down," Smith said. "And we're looking to move forward from it as soon as I'm able to play and have a good season."
As soon as the Knicks' medical staff and an independent doctor from the NBA deem him healthy to play, Smith will being serving his five-game ban. The earliest he can return is the sixth game of the season against the San Antonio Spurs.
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