Many in the Wizards organization were saddened by the season-ending injury to Sheldon Mac on Sunday, knowing it's a major setback for a well-liked guy who is trying to carve a niche for himself in the NBA. For point guard Tim Frazier, it all hit very close to home.
Frazier and Mac are both from Houston, Tx. and because of that held an instant connection when Frazier was traded to Washington. They were in contact all offseason, even checking in on each other after Hurricane Harvey in August.
Frazier can also relate to Mac now on a different level than most. He too tore his Achilles once, back in college when he was at Penn State. He has since made it back to find lasting power in the NBA, exactly what Mac would like for himself.
"He's tough," Frazier said. "He will be able to bounce back. I was. You hear stories all the time like Kobe [Bryant], Rudy Gay right now, guys tearing their Achilles and coming back. Sheldon is going to do the same. He is going to work his tail off to get back and help us as much as possible. It's very unfortunate."
Mac, 24, hurt himself making a move towards the basket in the first half of the Wizards' win over the Cavaliers. He pushed off on his left foot, only to tear the tendon and lose his balance while dribbling.
The rest of the Wizards team met him at halfcourt as he writhed in pain. Mac was then lifted off the ground by trainers and into the locker room. Frazier, having been in that spot before, had a feeling it was the Achilles.
"I knew after he talked to me and told me the symptoms at halftime," Frazier said. "Obviously, for me to see it, I knew it because it happened to me. You kind of shed a tear because he was playing so well and had worked so hard all summer. But everything happens for a reason and he'll bounce back strong."
Frazier missed his the majority of the 2012-13 season when in college. He tore his Achilles in the fourth game of his junior season. Frazier returned for his senior year after a medical redshirt season and put up numbers good enough to sign with the Boston Celtics as an undrafted free agent.
Frazier knows Mac can battle through this as well. The key, he says, will be remaining patient.
"That's the biggest piece, the mental piece. Your body can heal up well and the trainers will do their job in getting you back," he explained. "It's the mental piece in going through the surgery and the pain, learning how to walk all over again. Then, when you get back on the court, it's the mental aspect of getting over it. Doing the same things that you were able to do. He's athletic. He's got one of the best stepbacks I have seen in our camp. I went through the injury and it's healed now."
Mac is unlikely to return to the Wizards this season with a recovery timeline of six to eight months. In the meantine, the Wizards' final roster spot will come down to guards Carrick Felix and Donald Sloan. Like always, it's next man up.
[RELATED: PODCAST - FALLOUT FROM MAC'S INJURY]