The Los Angeles Clippers are going to have to wait a while to see their first-round pick in action. Sharpshooter C.J. Wilcox, whom they took with the 28th pick in last week's draft, will miss the upcoming summer league due to a shoulder injury.
Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times has the news:
Clippers rookie guard C.J. Wilcox has a right shoulder injury that will prevent him from playing in summer league in Las Vegas, sources.— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) July 3, 2014
It's likely the Clips are just being cautious with their new toy. As Turned noted, there is optimism around the team when it comes to this injury:
The Clippers are optimistic that Wilcox won’t need surgery and will be ready to play when training camp opens in October, sources.— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) July 3, 2014
Still, this is a little concerning just a few days after the draft, especially for someone who dealt with injuries throughout his collegiate career. The Washington Huskies product battled through a stress fracture in his femur (near his hip) during his sophomore season and a stress fracture in his foot during his junior campaign.
It's far too early to start sounding the alarm bells, but this is obviously something worth paying attention to.
When healthy, Wilcox is a deadly shooter with the size and athleticism to make a positive impact on the defensive side of the ball, as well. Doc Rivers, via the Los Angeles Daily News' Thuc Nhi Nguyen, praised those qualities:
His size, his ability to shoot the ball, his ability to defend, which usually doesn’t go together. When you hear shooter, you don’t hear defense behind that. Yet he has proven he can do both.
The Seattle Times' Jerry Brewer added to the praise on draft night:
It's so cool that C.J. Wilcox earned a spot in the 1st rd. Another shooter for the Clippers. CP3 and Blake Griffin will be thrilled.— Jerry Brewer (@JerryBrewer) June 27, 2014
Alas, this is an unfortunate setback for Wilcox.
Although the Clips' depth at shooting guard helps ease the pain in this particular situation, it also means the rookie—who had the look of a player who could contribute right away—now has an even bigger hill to climb if he wants to carve out a role.