Warriors' James Wiseman Won't Return vs. Rockets After Suffering Knee Injury

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 11, 2021

Houston Rockets center Kelly Olynyk, right, shoots next to Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Saturday, April 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)
Jed Jacobsohn/Associated Press

The Golden State Warriors announced that rookie center James Wiseman will not return to his team's game against the Houston Rockets on Saturday to have his right knee evaluated.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wiseman will undergo an MRI.

Wiseman appeared to suffer an injury after going up for a dunk attempt and taking a hard fall with his team up 32-30 in the second quarter:

Warriors on NBCS @NBCSWarriors

James Wiseman has left the floor after taking this hard fall https://t.co/Xfcj51dbI2

Anthony Slater of The Athletic provided more information: "[Wiseman] spent the timeout stretching/jogging on that right leg, but grimacing. Just before teams returned to court, trainers pulled him."

The 20-year-old left the game after scoring six points in six minutes. Kevon Looney replaced him in the lineup, and Juan Toscano-Anderson entered the starting five for Wiseman to begin the second half.

Wiseman has flashed moments of brilliance with bouts of inconsistency in his first season, averaging 11.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game prior to Saturday.

However, Wiseman has also had injury and health setbacks. He was sidelined for nearly a month of the season with a wrist injury and also missed a week in March because of the NBA's health and safety protocols.

"It's a setback in his rookie season," head coach Steve Kerr told reporters in March regarding Wiseman's absence. "But this is a guy who's got a 15-20 year career ahead of him. So in the grand scheme of things, it's not a huge deal."

Thus far, the Warriors have been given little reason to regret using the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft to select the former Memphis Tigers player.

While No. 3 selection LaMelo Ball has been excellent and looks like the runaway favorite to win Rookie of the Year, Wiseman's size and athleticism inside offer a different dimension for a Warriors side that has long been perimeter-oriented around Stephen Curry and the injured Klay Thompson.

The Nashville, Tennessee, native has a long way to go and a lot of developing left to do before he's the focal point of a perennial contender like Curry and Thompson were during the golden days of the Dubs dynasty, but he's shown enough potential for Bay Area fans to be justly excited.

If Wiseman is forced to miss time, look for players such as Looney and Toscano-Anderson to play a bigger role in the interior.