Festus Ezeli Injury: Updates on Trail Blazers C's Knee and Recovery

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2016

PORTLAND, OR - JULY 8: Festus Ezeli #31 of the Portland Trail Blazers is introduced to the media July 8, 2016 at the Trail Blazer Practice Facility in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
Sam Forencich/Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers announced on Tuesday that center Festus Ezeli "had his knee injected with a bone marrow aspirate concentrate and Orthovisc" that is designed "to alleviate pain and improve function."  

Continue for updates. 

Ezeli Sidelined for 6 Weeks

Tuesday, Aug. 23

According to the release, which was forwarded by the Oregonian, Ezeli will be out for a month-and-a-half as the Blazers prepare for their season opener against the Utah Jazz on Oct. 25. 

After signing a two-year, $14.7 million deal with the Blazers in July, Ezeli declared that his knees were "100 percent healthy and ready to go," according to the Oregonian's Joe Freeman

But based on the 26-year-old's history of knee injuries, complications in advance of the 2016-17 season shouldn't come as a major surprise. 

Not only did Ezeli miss the entire 2013-14 season after undergoing surgery to reinforce the MCL and PCL in his right knee, but he missed 36 games last season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in February. 

As a result of those woes, Ezeli earned far less on the open market than once projected.

According to The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears, teams hesitated to pay Ezeli over the summer despite the massive salary cap spike because of his troublesome injury history. 

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And even though the Blazers committed roughly $15 million to the big man, the second year of Ezeli's deal is a team option valued at $7.3 million, per Spears.

But if Ezeli is able to return to full strength and anchor the Blazers defense throughout the 2016-17 campaign, the team could have a bargain on its hands. 

While Ezeli isn't much in the way of a scorer, he is a bona fide rim protector who can work well in conjunction with the bouncier Mason Plumlee. 

"Obviously his defensive impact is going to be the most notable," Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said, per Freeman. "His defensive rating in Golden State on an exceptional defensive team was outstanding, one of the best on the team. So he's going to have an impact on our team."

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