Sacramento Kings fans have been waiting patiently for the debut of rookie big man Harry Giles. He trained through mini-camp leading up to Summer League and then sat. He’s spent the last few months in Sacramento preparing for the season, but when it came time for the preseason opener, Giles was listed as out.
Fans are going to have to wait a little longer. Friday afternoon, the Kings officially announced that Giles will not play until January at the earliest. He hasn’t faced a setback in his recovery from the two ACL tears he faced as a high school player, but the team has decided to side with science.
The gifted 6-foot-10, 240-pound North Carolina native is one of a select few players to come through the league with bilateral ACL tears. He tore the ACL, MCL and meniscus in his left knee in 2013, right before his sophomore year in high school. In the opening game of his senior year of high school, he tore the ACL in his right knee and underwent a second operation.
Giles underwent a third procedure last October while at Duke. Physicians performed an arthroscopic cleanup of his left knee, which is common for patients with bilateral tears. He was limited to just 11.6 minutes over 26 games for the Blue Devils as they took a conservative approach to his recovery.
Sacramento knew of the issues when they selected him and the franchise has developed a plan for his future.
“It’s a plan that started over the summer of bringing him along slowly with the medical staff,” coach Dave Joerger said on the NBC Sports California Kings Insider Podcast. “Our staff is terrific and with his history, what he’s been through and what we’re able to do. Everyone wants to go as fast as they can, but when you look at the longer scope of his career and as a valuable asset of our organization what’s best for 10 years than what’s best for six months. I think the long-term view far outweighs the short-term view.””
According to the team, the medical and science community agree that an ACL injury takes a full two years of recovery time. January marks that date for Giles from his the second surgery. Sacramento will carefully monitor his progress, work to strengthen his core and legs over the next few months and then run tests on the 19-year-old’s knees after the new year.
Giles is still allowed to practice with the team, including contact, but in a controlled environment, where they can manage as many variables as possible. An NBA game removes the control settings that the coaches and training staff have put in place.
The goal is for Giles to have a long and healthy career and the team is going to take the necessary steps to insure that he is 100 percent healed before running him out for NBA game action.
“I’m feeling great,” Giles told NBC Sports California. “I have the same soreness everybody else has and it’s a great feeling. I’m just excited to be back out on the floor and just ready to get back to the grind.”
Both Giles and his agent took part in the discussion and are on board with the team’s treatment plan. The Kings are extremely high on Giles and love his potential, but they also want to do right by the player and not rush the process.
The team hasn’t given up on the 2017-18 season for the rookie power forward. They will use the time to develop him both physically and mentally so he is ready to contribute when the time comes. For now, they will use a cautious approach and hope that it pays dividends down the road.