They’ve gotten accustomed to devastating injuries over the past two years, so the Warriors were braced for unfortunate news in the wake of James Wiseman’s knee surgery.
And they got it. It’s about as bad as their worst fears.
A few hours after Wiseman underwent surgery to repair a torn right meniscus on Thursday, the team announced in a news release that the rookie center would, as expected, miss the rest of the 2020-21 season.
In addition, Wiseman will miss the entire postseason, should the Warriors be involved. That much was suspected.
Furthermore, he also will miss any semblance of Summer League, should the pandemic recede enough to formulate one. That much was dreaded, as his preparation for next season will be at least as impaired as it was for his truncated rookie season.
Worst of all, Wiseman’s status for the 2021-22 season is not scheduled to be updated until September, shortly before training camp. He could miss the start of the season.
Which would send Wiseman into much the same unwanted space as five-time All-Star Klay Thompson, whose availability for a full 2021 training camp is uncertain after missing consecutive seasons, the first after surgery to repair a torn left ACL and the second after surgery to repair a torn right Achilles’ tendon.
Next season, the one for which the franchise was planning its big comeback, rejoining the NBA elite, already has been prematurely blasted by a cold gust of apprehension.
Wiseman has no idea when he’ll next suit up for an NBA game. Thompson doesn’t know when he’ll be back on an NBA court. And the Warriors have good reason to be afraid to guess when they might be whole.
For Wiseman, this is the most irritating of all outcomes. He arrived in the NBA less than five months ago, a bouncy 19-year-old with vast potential and a razor-thin resumé. His rookie season has been near-equal parts good and bad, with injuries contributing significantly. He turns 20, and 11 days later he lands awkwardly on his right leg.
And his season, after 39 games, is over. His career is suspended.
The Warriors are more familiar than they'd like to be with these circumstances, from DeMarcus Cousins' quad to Kevin Durant's Achilles' tendon. From Thompson's knee to Stephen Curry's hand. To Thompson's Achilles' tendon and now Wiseman's knee.
All since the spring of 2019.
This is the latest in a series of brutal blows for the Warriors, and it's a heartbreaking turn of events for a young man for whom humanity should hope for a full recovery.