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Brewers pitcher Smith tears knee ligament

Milwaukee Brewers' Will Smith is expected to miss "significant time" after tearing the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee in a freak accident.

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Milwaukee Brewers reliever Will Smith is expected to miss "significant time" to start the MLB season after tearing the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee in a freak accident.

Left-hander Smith was attempting to take off his baseball cleats on Thursday after a minor league game.

Standing on his right leg, he pulled at the shoe on his left foot. The shoe stayed on, and his right knee twisted awkwardly.

"I pulled hard [on the shoe] and it stayed on," Smith told reporters. "My knee just went up and popped.

"Everyone tells you there is nothing you can do about it, but you still feel like you are letting people down."

Smith received the diagnosis on Friday. He said further examination will be needed to see if surgery is required.

Brewers manager Craig Counsell had announced last week that Smith and Jeremy Jeffress would share the closer role to start the season.

Counsell said it is unclear how long Smith will be out, but it would be "significant time." It is not expected to be a season-ending injury.

Smith posted a 7-2 record with a 2.70 ERA in 76 appearances out of the bullpen last season for the Brewers.

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