James Wiseman’s rookie year appears to be bookended by unfortunate circumstances, with the Golden State Warriors hinting that the promising young center’s season could be over after he suffered a major injury this week.
Wiseman was injured in Saturday’s win over the Houston Rockets when he went up for a dunk but landed awkwardly after a block by forward Kenyon Martin Jr. Initial reports suggested that he had torn a meniscus and would be out the rest of the year, and head coach Steve Kerr seemed to confirm the diagnosis this week.
The Athletic’s Anthony Slater reported that Wiseman will need to undergo surgery and will be out for an extended stretch, though his exact recovery time remains unclear. Slater noted that the team will not know the extent of the knee damage until Wiseman goes under the knife, and that his recovery could range anywhere from four weeks to multiple months.
“The imaging on Wiseman’s knee is inconclusive,” Slater reported. “Different experts have different opinions, which isn’t uncommon in these situations. Surgeons often determine the best course of action during the procedure once given a clearer look at the tear. That’s the case with Wiseman. The Warriors and Wiseman won’t know the course of action and expected absence until after the surgery.”
James Wiseman has left the floor after taking this hard fall pic.twitter.com/Xfcj51dbI2
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 11, 2021
As ESPN noted, Kerr seemed to confirm the prognosis prior to Wednesday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He told reporters that Wiseman was set to undergo surgery this week and that the team would know the extent of the damage afterward. Kerr added that the team had spoken to a number of medical experts to come up with the best approach to the injury.
The setback comes just months after Wiseman suffered a COVID-19 infection that hindered his welcome to the league. Wiseman missed most of training camp as he recovered and was stuck in the league’s return-to-play protocols.
Wiseman Remains Upbeat
Kerr added that the injury is not keeping Wiseman down.
“He puts on a brave face,” Kerr said, via ESPN. “Obviously, we saw him [Tuesday] at practice and had a chance to visit with him, and he’s in relatively good spirits, but he’s putting on a brave face for sure. He’s a young guy — this isn’t supposed to happen so early in someone’s career. So it’s a tough time for sure. So fingers are crossed, and we’ll see how everything goes [Thursday].”
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 11, 2021
The Warriors had committed to Wiseman through the back half of the season, with Kerr saying that he was moving into the starting lineup on a permanent basis after the All-Star break. Some experts see the break as a potential benefit for Wiseman and the Warriors. Dr. Steven Yoon of The Regenerative Sports and Joint Clinic at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles said the recovery could help the 20-year-old in the long-term. Speaking to Wes Goldberg of the Mercury News, Yoon said the team will be able to determine the underlying cause of the injury and work with Wiseman to improve his biomechanics to come back stronger.
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