SAN FRANCISCO – The Golden State Warriors woke up to the NBA’s best record on Wednesday and with even more sunshine on the horizon, Klay Thompson fully participated in team practice for the first time in more than two years.
Thompson could make his anticipated return to game action from the ACL and Achilles Tears by Christmas Day. But what about second-year center James Wiseman?
There is no clear timeline for the return of the 2020 second overall pick to full-team practices. Wiseman, 20, had meniscus surgery seven months ago on April 15 and within a time span of six to nine months. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday that the timeline remains unclear.
“The injury, the meniscus tear, is an injury where it’s not a linear improvement,” Kerr said. “An ACL or Achilles, you know you can map it. A meniscus tear, you can’t map it because it’s more likely to vary on how long it will take to heal. James is doing well, There is no structural problem. We are taking a lot of precautions right now.”
In Wiseman’s case, there may be more caution than urgency to play. The Warriors are set for a 15-2 start, an early lead in a playoff race that could see the team fight for a fourth title in seven years alongside Steph Curry, Drummond Greene and soon, Thompson.
With starting center Kevon Looney regaining his momentum, Nemanja Bejelica added a shooting component to his minute in five minutes and Green, as the Warriors’ most dominant center, didn’t necessarily need Wiseman on the court immediately. Given Wiseman’s struggles last season to fit into the Warriors’ speed offense, he will need time on the court to develop, but putting him in rotation could reduce Golden State’s offense, as in previous seasons. happened.
The injury, while negative and certainly painful to their development, provided temporary respite from that enigma for the warriors. But his return — and plans to go with it — may be on the horizon.
On average, athletes return to play eight or nine months after surgery, says Dr. Nirav Pandya, assistant professor at UCSF and director of sports medicine at Benioff Children’s Hospital.
The Warriors could have taken it slow, with good reason.
“The more time you take when someone comes back, the better,” he said. “If the team is doing really well and you don’t need him, why not wait a little longer to get him back?”
The Warriors have not released details about the nature of Wiseman’s meniscus tear, but he has not been cleared for full contact, despite hints months earlier that Wiseman would practice with Thompson. But the final months of Wiseman’s recovery will mostly depend on how he reacts and takes part in the 1-on-1, 2-on-2 and drills he is participating in, Pandya said. said.
“The tricky thing with meniscus surgery is that each tear is different,” he said. “It’s entirely within reason to go a little slower. It’s very predictable initially. When you get to the final stage, it’s the least predictable part of the recovery process.”
Pandya said Wiseman’s 7-foot stature and playing style – the high stress on his knees – could also be factors in the long run. Memphis Grizzlies 7-foot center Jaren Jackson Jr. returned to sporting action last year after eight months of his meniscus tear surgery.
Wiseman is not expected to grab the role of Looney out of the gate and, whenever that happens, may see a limited number of minutes in the second unit upon his return. With the team off to a good start and the precarious nature of Wiseman’s injury, the Warriors might not be itching to back him.