Warriors’ James Wiseman close to full contact, could return for NBA Summer League: Sources

Warriors center James Wiseman was selected second in the 2020 NBA Draft, but his early career was stalled by a tricky knee injury. There is light at the end of his proverbial recovery tunnel.

Wiseman underwent an orthobiologic injection during a multi-day trip to London with Warriors general manager Bob Myers in April, multiple sources said. Athleticism, as both parties worked to find a way to help the knee heal. The plasma-rich injection into Wiseman’s arm was a therapeutic treatment used to increase healing throughout the body.

A torn meniscus cut short Wiseman’s rookie season, and he underwent surgery to repair it in April 2021, believing he would return midway through the 2021-22 season. But persistent swelling led to multiple setbacks and a knee carry in December, ultimately persuading the Warriors to shut down Wiseman and his decision to go the orthobiologic route.

Wiseman gradually progressed over the next few months. Over the past few weeks he has increased his activity on the court and is now sprinting for pain-free stretching. Wiseman is nearing clearance for full-contact practices, and he and the Warriors are now optimistic he will return to action in the NBA Summer League in July, sources said. Athleticism. Both teams’ goal was for Wiseman to play in the Summer League. A final decision on Wiseman’s status is expected within the next two weeks, sources said.

Warriors rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody — the No. 7 and 14 picks in the 2021 NBA Draft — are also expected to make at least part of the Summer League, sources said.

The Warriors will host the California Classic on July 2-3 at Chase Center, facing the Summer League Kings and Lakers, before heading to Las Vegas for the biggest league-wide event. Wiseman’s potential inclusion will be the Warriors’ biggest storyline.

Despite his lack of availability and experience — he’s played 39 games for the Warriors after just three at the University of Memphis — Wiseman remains a key figure in the franchise’s plans for the future. He will enter his third season and should see his fourth-year option picked up.

But everything goes fast in the NBA. Wiseman will be eligible for the extension next summer, and the Warriors are less than a month away from free agency, where they will attempt to bolster what has proven to be a championship-worthy roster. Each data point allows for cleaner decision-making, and Wiseman didn’t provide many data points.

Kevon Looney is an unrestricted free agent who has worked his way into bigger paydays, appearing in all 102 games this season and leading all of the playoffs in offensive rebounds. It was expected, at this point in Wiseman’s growth curve, that he would be ready to take the starting center spot for the Warriors.

But it has become too shaky a bet for a side that will still employ Steph Curry and once again entertain Championship expectations next season. Looney’s retention has become increasingly imperative, maintaining a veteran presence above Wiseman on the depth chart as he tries to get his career off the ground.

This next month is crucial for the Wiseman reset. He got back in touch in March and even played a few G League games, closing in on an NBA return before that swelling shut him down again and triggered the decision to seek orthobiologic treatment. He feels good and approaches contact again. His healthy inclusion in the Summer League is the next big hurdle.

(Photo: Darren Yamashita/USA Today)

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