Kerr: Wiseman 'in great spirits' during injury rehab

Steve Kerr and James Wiseman

Warriors rookie James Wiseman is in "great spirits" as he recovers from last month's surgery to repair the torn meniscus in his right knee, Golden State coach Steve Kerr said Saturday in a video conference with reporters.

Kerr said Wiseman, brace and all, participated in the Warriors' team photo Friday. The 20-year-old's positive outlook was noticeable, according to his coach.

"He told me the injury's healing really well, and he's feeling good," Kerr told reporters prior to the Warriors' game Saturday at Chase Center against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Wiseman endured an up-and-down rookie season after the Warriors selected him with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

He missed most of training camp in the league's COVID-19 health and safety protocols, 11 games in February with a sprained right wrist and three more games in March due to the protocols. Kerr also benched Wiseman for three quarters in the Warriors' first game following the All-Star break after the rookie missed a mandatory coronavirus test.

Wiseman's fit on the court wasn't seamless, either. The Warriors were outscored by 15.5 points per 100 possessions with Wiseman and Andrew Wiggins on the floor, 8.1 points per 100 possessions in Wiseman and Steph Curry's minutes and 8.4 points per 100 possessions when Wiseman and Draymond Green played together.

Through it all, the young big man still flashed the potential that tantalized the Warriors to select him ahead of LaMelo Ball and Tyrese Haliburton, among other prospects. Wiseman averaged 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds in his 39 games, bearing the weight of expectation as the franchise's highest draft pick in years while debuting during a generational global pandemic.

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Kerr and the Warriors have consistently praised Wiseman's attitude and work ethic, and the coach believes those attributes will help Wiseman as he rehabilitates his meniscus this summer. Wiseman's plan, according to Kerr, is to rehab at the Warriors' facility during the offseason.

"That's crucial," Kerr said. "Obviously, it'll be a little quiet around here. A lot of the guys who play heavy minutes won't be coming in here much during the summer, but James is a really willing athlete. Willing, patient. He wants to be here. He wants to get better however he can, so we'll give him every opportunity to improve -- both on the floor once he's ready to get out there, but also obviously in the training room and in the weight room."

Wiseman's status for the start of training camp in September is unclear, as is his for the beginning of the 2021-22 regular season.

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