The former No. 2 overall pick tore his meniscus in the latter half of his rookie season and does not appear on track to open his sophomore year on the active roster, according to a report from Anthony Slater, of The Athletic.
“Warriors provide update on James Wiseman, recovering from meniscus surgery,” Slater tweeted on Monday, September 20. “He will only participate in controlled, individual portions of training camp and is expected to begin full jumping around Oct. 15, only four days before the opener. So it’s clear he will miss the start of the season.”
Tune on Wiseman’s Injury, Rehab has Changed Meaningfully in Recent Days
The news, disheartening to Golden State fans and detrimental to Wiseman’s progress as a potential young star in the league, struck a significantly different note than a previous injury assessment just over two weeks ago.
In early September, Wiseman posted a picture of himself on Instagram handling the ball and moving from side-to-side, while maneuvering confidently toward the hoop.
A prominent physician — Dr. Nirav Pandya, director of the Center for Sports Medicine for Young Athletes in the Bay Area — went public with encouraging thoughts as to Wiseman’s rehabilitation status based on the images he saw.
“Nice! At the nearly 4 month mark after meniscus surgery looks as if #Wiseman is doing on-court drills with agility/running,” Pandya tweeted on September 4. “Great sign and right on track (if not a little ahead). Bodes well for training camp and regular season. Hoping the knee responds well!”
It should be noted that Pandya was not involved in Wiseman’s rehab firsthand, and the tweet the doctor posted 16 days ago has since been deleted.
Wiseman to Miss Out on Full Preseason Yet Again
The tune sang by Wiseman himself, and several others, in early September echoed quotes from Warriors head coach Steve Kerr in July, who told Slater then that it appeared Wiseman would be on track for a full preseason worth of work. It is an advantage the Dubs’ big man was bereft of last year, as well, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He’s right on schedule for everything and, as of now, (the) medical team tells me he will be ready for camp,” Kerr told Slater in an interview in July.
However, as Slater explained Monday, the nature of Wiseman’s injury and rehabilitation will preclude him from participating fully in preseason activities. That, in turn, will hurt his ability to contribute to what Warriors’ brass, the Golden State roster, and the team’s fan base consider a year of title contention.
“Part of the reason (Wiseman) appeared unready to consistently contribute to a winning NBA atmosphere a season ago was due to the lack of prep time prior,” Slater wrote. “Three college games were followed by a COVID draft process, no summer league, and a COVID absence for training camp and the preseason.”
But it should also be noted that while the sophomore big man will not participate in “unrestrained contact portions of practice,” as Slater characterized them, it’s not like he’ll be sitting idly on the sideline either.
“Wiseman will be out on the court in controlled drills and individual skill work. He will be in the weight and film room. It won’t be an empty month,” Slater continued. “He’s increasing his activity by the week.”
The Warriors open the regular season on October 19 against the Los Angeles Lakers in LA.