Klay’s return leaves Wiseman alone in loneliest place originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The vision of Klay Thompson sitting alone on the bench long after the final horn, towel covering his head and his face, was a portrait of a somber man longing to open a door that felt closed only to him.
Six weeks later, it opened and he once again was an active member of the Warriors.
In the three weeks since, there have been moments when Klay owned the room.
That’s the same room James Wiseman wishes to enter.
But the door remains closed to Wiseman, whose NBA experience consists of barely a fraction of that accomplished by Thompson. Klay’s wait was buttressed by eight years of acclaim and accolades and championship jewelry. He was aching to resume.
Wiseman’s NBA career is 39 games, half a season, one sentence on a legal sheet of paper. He hopes for more. He wants to begin.
He is where Golden State teammate Damion Lee was in 2016, having torn his left ACL three years after tearing his right ACL and simply hoping to play in the NBA.
“Just trying to keep him encouraged,” Lee said Friday after practice. “He’s what, 20, now? It’s a matter of trying to keep him engaged in everything. I try to tell him what I did when I was hurt. I would treat the rehab process as if it were a game, sort of mentally putting myself in that space.
“But it’s just hard. James’ career, from when he started, has been less than ideal. But he has not complained once about it, whether it’s the beginning of last year, the shortened season, not having that many college games, getting COVID right before the season started, bouncing in and out (of the lineup), having a good two weeks, trying to figure out the next two weeks. Protocols again. Then, getting injured . . . He’s never complained once about it. Just put his head down and worked and worked and worked because he wants to be great.”
It was initially projected after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee last April 15 that Wiseman “might” be ready to join the Warriors in October. He did not. November came and went. December brought a second arthroscopic procedure, that leaves him waiting and wanting as January comes to a close.
Might he be ready sometime in February? Maybe?
“James has been ramping up individual workouts,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He spent a lot of time on the floor this past week, and he’s been doing well with it. There’s nothing planned yet, going forward, in terms of contact work, but the individual work has gone well.”
Kerr has abandoned the idea of projecting when Wiseman might be cleared for contact work. He won’t say because he has said it before, only to have to take it back.
Wiseman has spent the past month basically ricocheting from the training room to the court – where he works out with assistant coach DeJan Milojević – to the weight room and back to the training room.
“Every day he comes in and works. He rehabs. He works. He gets himself ready for whatever the day has for him,” Lee said. “I commend him for that.
“He knows that he has an ear in me if he ever wants to talk about anything – injuries, life, music, basketball, whatever – because I know what it’s like to go through that process, and feel like you’re making steps and knowing that it’s hard physically, but it’s just as hard mentally. You need people that are going to be there to support you.”
Thompson, away from the game for almost 31 months, had no shortage of support from family and teammates. Though he and Wiseman were, in a way, rehab partners, it was not enough to prevent those moments of despair. He got through it and is playing well.
Wiseman is next. He’s the only member of the Warriors yet to play in a game this season. Now in his 10th month post-surgery, the door remains closed. He is weeks away from the moment when he can feel only days away, and it’s a lonely place.
Source: Yahoo Sports