Arkansas Basketball: Why Keith Smart has taken over as interim head coach

Arkansas Basketball

Eric Musselman, Arkansas Basketball (Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports)

Why Eric Musselman isn’t coaching the Arkansas Basketball team

Arkansas Basketball Head Coach Eric Musselman is expected to miss at least the next two games due to recovery from a recent freak injury in a recent Razorback practice.

Musselman was participating in a drill and a player accidentally fell on him, tearing his rotator cuff. The coach tried to put off having surgery until after the season, but it seems like his timeline was moved-up.

According to multiple reports, the head coach will not be on the sidelines for the games at No. 12 LSU on Jan. 15 or vs South Carolina Jan. 18.

Musselman’s doctor, Wesley K. Cox, M.D. said Musselman needed to have the surgery instead of waiting until after the season, according to a press release from the Razorbacks.

“The goal was to use daily physical therapy and treatment as well as a steroid injection to delay the surgery as many weeks as we could, none of which have offered any significant improvement. At this time, surgery to repair the tears was necessary due to the amount of pain and instability he was experiencing and to mitigate the risk for significant complications in the future. Coach Musselman is expected to do very well and ultimately make a full recovery.” – Wesley K. Cox, M.D.

The Razorbacks have named assistant Keith Smart as the interim head coach while Musselman recovers from surgery and is in a position to be on the sidelines.

Smart is one of the most experienced assistant coaches in college basketball. His resume includes head coaching stints in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State and Sacramento Kings.

Smart also served as an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors when Musselman was the head coach. He also served time as an assistant for the New York Knicks, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Kings and Cavaliers.

Smart memorably won an NCAA Championship as a player with the Indiana Hoosiers by sinking the game-winning shot against Syracuse in 1987.

The Arkansas Basketball team will be led by Smart for the road game at LSU and the home game against South Carolina.