Wizards

Wizards GM gives updates on Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant

Wizards

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard provided updated timelines to big men Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant's respective returns to full team practices on the Team 980 Friday ahead of Washington's clash against the Cavaliers. 

Sheppard told the Russell & Medhurst show that Hachimura could return to practice when the Wizards return from their three-game road trip next week, while Sheppard expects Bryant to be back within the next two weeks. 

Hachimura joined his Wizards teammates on the bench for a game for the first time on Wednesday night against Minnesota after missing the preseason due to personal reasons. While he's already been a full participant in practice last week, he'll be able to ramp things up come next Thursday when the Wizards return from Detroit.

The lack of practice time that comes along with three away games in four days made a return to game action too difficult. 

Bryant, on the other hand, looks "phenomenal" according to Sheppard. The 24-year-old center has slowly but surely worked his way back from a partially torn ACL suffered in January. Encouraged by the progress both have made, Sheppard is still wary of rushing anything. 

"There's a big difference between the conditioning they're doing and playing basketball in terms of the demand on their bodies. They have to be careful," Sheppard said. 

 

Before Friday's opening tip, the Wizards sit third in the East with a 14-8 record. Coach Wes Unseld Jr.'s group has enjoyed added depth and defense to close out games they struggled to under Scott Brooks. 

As competitive as both Hachimura and Bryant are to prove their values to their new coach, Sheppard is tasked with balancing that with making sure they're set to be healthy for the long haul.

"I know they're chomping at the bit to get back. Thomas and Rui are coming back to a brand new coach and a whole bunch of new teammates and they're trying to fit in, and that's is hard to do when you're not allowed to scrimmage and stuff," Sheppard said. "So I have a ton of empathy for what they're going through. The one thing you can count on with both of them is that they'll fit in and give 100%. They'll find a way. They have great character, they're great teammates, and we're looking forward to having them here."