GSW: Wiseman surgery a success, back in ’21-22

Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman had surgery to fix the meniscus injury in his right knee and will miss the rest of the season, the team announced Thursday.

The Warriors called the surgery successful. Coach Steve Kerr said before Thursday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers that he spoke to Wiseman after the procedure and that he was “doing well.”

Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed the surgery Thursday in Los Angeles. The Warriors said they expect Wiseman, 20, to return for the 2021-22 season and that they will have another update about his recovery in September.

The injury occurred during the second quarter of an April 10 win over the Houston Rockets when Wiseman went up for a dunk and landed awkwardly after being blocked by Rockets forward Kenyon Martin Jr. Wiseman tried to stay in the game, but after walking around the bench and being checked out by the Warriors’ training staff, he walked slowly back to the locker room for more examination — which ultimately led to Thursday’s procedure.

The surgery brings an end to an up-and-down rookie season for the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 draft. Wiseman, who averaged 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds, showed flashes of promise during his first professional year but struggled with his confidence throughout the season while trying to learn the NBA game.

Teammates and coaches raved about his length and athleticism after watching him work out before the season began, but he struggled to translate what he was seeing on the practice floor to games, as evidenced by repeated mistakes, particularly on the defensive end.

Wiseman missed most of training camp after dealing with COVID-19 protocols but still managed to crack the starting lineup when the season opened on Dec. 22. After an inconsistent first month, Kerr decided to replace Wiseman in the starting lineup with veteran center Kevon Looney on Jan. 25. Wiseman played a few solid games off the bench, but after a wrist injury on Jan. 30 knocked him out for almost a month, he was never able to find the same form.

Kerr inserted Wiseman back into the starting lineup on March 4 against the Phoenix Suns, a night after playing the rookie just 11 minutes in a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. The veteran coach said he would like to keep Wiseman in the starting lineup moving forward, but then the young center missed two straight days of COVID testing during the All-Star break, which frustrated Kerr and got Wiseman benched for the first three quarters of a March 11 loss to the LA Clippers.

The Warriors remain hopeful that Wiseman will be able to bounce back and find the form they saw in him before the season, but the knee injury throws a wrench into what was supposed to be a very important summer for the big man’s growth and development.

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