Knee prob­lems keep­ing Mahinmi on the side­line

Center has played 14 min­utes this sea­son

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY TODD DYBAS

Ian Mahinmi’s right knee con­tin­ues to be a co­nun­drum for the Wash­ing­ton Wizards.

The strange part, is that Mahinmi’s prob­lem knee is not the one he had an op­er­a­tion on in Oc­to­ber. That was his left knee. Mahinmi had a par­tial tear of the me­dial menis­cus oc­cur dur­ing the Wizards’ Oct. 14 pre­sea­son game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Mahinmi’s time­line for re­turn from the surgery was 4-6 weeks.

Fol­low­ing his re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, Mahinmi, the backup center who cost the Wizards $64 mil­lion in the off­sea­son, de­buted on Nov. 16. He played 14 min­utes. He has not played since.

The is­sue in Mahinmi’s right knee has been la­beled “ten­dini­tis” by Wash­ing­ton coach Scott Brooks. Last week, Brooks said Mahinmi would be out for 7-10 days. Fri­day marks the seven-day point of that pro­jec­tion.

Mahinmi par­tic­i­pated in shootaround Thurs­day, then worked out lightly and sep­a­rately later. Brooks said the ex­tra work was a “a lit­tle more than” the other day.

“He’s had some sore­ness in his knee and we’ve done the MRI and ev­ery­thing

came back clean,” Brooks said. “He’s just go­ing to have to con­tinue to get the treat­ments and I hate to keep say­ing day-to-day, but last week we said 7-10 days. We want to make sure he feels com­fort­able and we feel com­fort­able. He has to go through our check­list that our med­i­cal staff puts to­gether. Un­til he meets all of those, he’s not go­ing to be put on the court. We’re all ex­cited to have him. Ob­vi­ously, we could use his skill set and de­fen­sive tough­ness and what he brings to our team. Vet­eran, ex­pe­ri­enced, lead­er­ship. But, right now, it has to be on hold un­til he gets back.”

Brooks also said “right now the pain is high” for Mahinmi, though im­prov­ing.

“We just have to be pa­tient,” Brooks said. “We’d love to have him out there, but we’re not go­ing to put him out there in a sit­u­a­tion where he’s not ready. It’s go­ing to hap­pen soon. I just don’t know when.”

Mahinmi’s ab­sence has forced third­string center Ja­son Smith into many more min­utes than was ex­pected in the pre­sea­son. Smith had his best game of the sea­son on Wed­nes­day night when he scored 12 points and had seven re­bounds. Oth­er­wise, the start to his sea­son has been dis­mal. Smith, pri­mar­ily a jump-shoot­ing big man, is shoot­ing 45.5 per­cent from the field. His player ef­fi­ciency rat­ing is 6.49. League av­er­age in that cat­e­gory is 15.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Wash­ing­ton Wizards center Ian Mahinmi made his de­but on Nov. 16 and has not played since thanks to knee is­sues.

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