It has been eight months since James Wiseman tore his right meniscus after landing awkwardly on a dunk attempt against the Houston Rockets. That means it’s also been eight months since Wiseman has played an organized game of basketball.
And it doesn’t sound like he is much closer to making his return. Steve Kerr said Monday night that Wiseman has yet to be cleared to scrimmage and his work on the court remains held to just individual activity.
“I just feel bad for James because I am dying for him to get out there for his own well-being and improvement and where he is in his young career,” Kerr said. “It’s just too young for something like this to happen. So I feel back for him.”
Kerr has taken himself out of the equation when it comes to deciding when Wiseman will be ready to scrimmage. Instead, it’s up to the Warriors’ team doctor Rick Celebrini and his staff.
After last season came to an end, Kerr said that he was expecting Wiseman to be back in action — at least in practice — by training camp. But now nearly two months removed from camp, there hasn’t been as much progress for Wiseman as initially expected.
The Warriors have said there haven’t been any setbacks to Wiseman’s rehab, it’s just taking a bit longer to recover than they expected.
But according to Kerr, Wiseman’s delayed absences haven’t necessarily altered the way he will want to use and play the second-year center when he does return.
“It hasn’t changed anything with my thinking,” Kerr said.
The original plan — and apparently the current one — is to simplify everything for Wiseman. Kerr sees him as a piece to their future, so he wants to keep Wiseman’s role small and particular: Be a rebounder and a rim protector. Everything else will come in time.
Most of Wiseman’s individual work has been done with new player development coach Dejan Milojevic, a coach who has fingerprints on the careers of reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic and LA Clippers center Ivica Zubac.
“He’s maintained a really good attitude and he comes in every day and he gets his work in,” Kerr said. “Whatever he gets out there, he gets out there. And then we’ll assess at that point and kind of decide how we want to use him and how much we want to throw at him.”
When will “that point” be? Kerr didn’t offer a timetable for when we can expect Wiseman to get back out on the court.
But, one week into the month of December, the chances are slim we see Wiseman before the new year.
“He hasn’t scrimmaged yet,” Kerr said. “By the time he comes back and scrimmages it’s going to take some time from there, so you guys can do the math.”
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