SAN FRANCISCO – The Golden State Warriors woke up Wednesday to the NBA’s best record and even more sunshine on the horizon when Klay Thompson took part in full team training for the first time in more than two years.
Thompson could make his expected gameplay return from ACL and Achilles’ tears by Christmas Day. But what about James Wiseman in his sophomore year?
There is no clear timetable for the return of the second overall pick of the second overall pick to the entire team. Wiseman, 20, underwent meniscal surgery seven months ago on April 15, within six to nine months. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday that the schedule remains unclear.
“The injury, the meniscal tear, is an injury that is not linear improvement,” said Kerr. “An ACL or Achilles, you know you can match it. You cannot depict a meniscus tear because there is a greater likelihood of variance in recovery time. James is fine, there are no structural problems. We’re just being very careful. “
In the case of Wiseman, caution can take precedence over the urgency of the game. The Warriors have a 15-2 start and are early leaders in a playoff race that this team has with Steph Curry, Draymond Green and soon Thompson could battle for their fourth title in seven years.
With starting center Kevon Looney regaining his rhythm, Nemanja Bjelica adding a shot component from his minutes at five, and Green being the Warriors’ most potent center, Wiseman isn’t necessarily needed on the pitch right away. Given Wiseman’s difficulties last season fitting into the Warriors’ moving offensive it will take him time on the pitch to develop, but fitting him into rotation could affect Golden State’s offensive like last season .
The injury was negative for his development and certainly painful, but it gave the warriors temporary relief from this mystery. But his return – and a plan to accompany her – could be on the horizon.
On average, athletes return to play eight or nine months after surgery, says Dr. Nirav Pandya, UCSF Assistant Professor and Director of Benioff Children’s Hospital.
“The longer you push out when someone comes back, the better,” he said. “If the team is really fine and you don’t need them, why not wait a little longer to bring them back?”
The Warriors have not released details about the nature of Wiseman’s meniscal tear, but he hasn’t been released for full contact, despite indications months ago that Wiseman would practice with Thompson.
“When he got the injury last season, we talked about being ready for camp,” said Kerr. “That was two months behind us, of course, and I didn’t understand much about meniscus injuries at the time. I said several times last year we hope he will be back to camp or shortly after. Now that I have learned more about it, there are different recovery time frames for this type of injury. He’s a massive guy with a lot of weight on his knee. We’re just very careful. ”
But the final months of Wiseman’s recovery will largely depend on how he reacts and reacts to the 1v1, 2v2 and exercises he participates in, Pandya said.
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“The tricky thing about meniscal surgery is that every tear is different,” he said. “It’s perfectly fine to slow down a little. In the beginning it’s very predictable. Getting into the final stage is the most unpredictable part of the recovery process. ”
Wiseman’s two-foot-tall stature and style of play – heavy strain on his knees – could also flow into the longer timeline, said Pandya. Memphis Grizzlies 7-foot center Jaren Jackson Jr. returned to the game eight months after his meniscal tear surgery last year.
Wiseman is not expected to take Looney’s role in the first place and could see limited minutes on his return in the second unit whenever that may be the case. With the team’s flying start and the precarious nature of Wiseman’s injury, the Warriors likely won’t be itching to rush him back.