Golden State Warriors

Report: James Wiseman’s season-ending setback not a ‘nail in the coffin’ for his career

It’s an unpleasant thought for Warriors fans, but Golden State may have wasted its No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

And it’s not due to a lack of talent from their selection, center James Wiseman. It’s due — of course — to Wiseman’s knee injury last season, a torn MCL. I’ve mentioned on the BASH already that his career may be in jeopardy. Some centers suffer knee injuries and can’t recover, unfortunately.

My concern was confirmed in an article by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Connor Letourneau. He brought up ex-NBA center Greg Oden when discussing Wiseman’s future. Oden is a former No. 1 overall pick who suffered knee injuries and played just 105 games in his career.

Letourneau also focussed on whether the Warriors will know enough about Wiseman’s health and talent to confidently pick up his $12.1 million team option by Oct. 31 of this year. If Golden State — which will always be strapped for salary cap space when they employ Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green — declines, Wiseman will be an unrestricted free agent in summer 2023.

But back to that injury. Letourneau reached out to Dr. Trong Nguyen, an orthopedic surgeon, about Wiseman’s chances to play basketball again. Thankfully, Nguyen believes Wiseman’s latest setback is not a “nail in the coffin” for the young center’s career.

“James’ swelling might be non-specific,” said Dr. Trong Nguyen, an orthopedic surgeon at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley (Orange County). “It doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong. Knees react to surgery and to basketball differently. He may just have some swelling in general, which can eventually get better.

“Once he rehabs it and gets stronger, he can return without having a lot of issues. I don’t think it’s a nail in the coffin.”

San Francisco Chronicle

On one hand, it’s nice that the doctor says the setback isn’t a nail in the coffin, and on the other hand, it’s frightening that we’re even talking about nails and coffins here in regards to the Wiseman’s entire career.

But that’s where we’re at. With no news of further surgery for Wiseman, the Warriors are literally waiting to see what happens. The rest of Dub Nation is doing the same.

Ideally, Golden State will have enough information about Wiseman’s future to make a sound decision on his team option by Halloween, which will hopefully have no nails or coffins involved, at least in regards to Wiseman.

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