Injury Updates For 2019 NBA Draft Lottery Candidates

by June 06, 2019
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Bol Bol of the Oregon Ducks

The 2019 NBA Draft is two weeks away and while there’s long been a consensus about Zion Williamson going to the Pelicans with the first-overall pick, there’s nothing set in stone beyond that.

One of the factors that front offices around the league will consider when making their decisions is player health as several projected lottery picks have or have had some health concerns that teams will want to be apprised of and comfortable with before making such an investment.

Ja Morant (Mock Draft: No. 2 -> Memphis)
The biggest name on that list is, of course, projected No. 2 pick Morant who underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his right knee to remove loose bodies earlier this week. As Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported at the time, the recovery timeline for such a procedure is typically three to four weeks.

If Morant stays on schedule he could be back at full strength in late June or early July, potentially cleared to play in NBA Summer League which begins on July 5. Even if he does end up sitting out some or all of the tournament in Las Vegas though, there’s no indication that the already completed, successful procedure will impact his draft stock.

Darius Garland (Mock Draft: No. 4 -> L.A. Lakers)
Garland was once and could very well again be a candidate to go in the top-five of this year’s draft, despite the fact that a meniscus injury cost him the majority of his lone NCAA season. The Vanderbilt guard underwent successful surgery in late November and told NCAA.com’s Andy Katz that he’s “good to go” last month.

Garland has been the subject of much speculation after withdrawing from last month’s Combine. As Shams Charania of The Athletic tweeted in May, the decision fueled belief that he’s already received a lottery promise.

Cam Reddish (Mock Draft: No. 7 -> Chicago)
Reddish will have a procedure done to correct a core muscle issue that had bothered him throughout the 2018-19 campaign. Shams Charania of The Athletic tweeted in late May that the procedure will sideline the Duke prospect for six weeks, at which point he will be expected to be back to 100%.

A six-week timeline would put Reddish back in game shape in mid-July, likely eliminating any chance that he’d play in Summer League for whichever team drafts him.

Jaxson Hayes (Mock Draft: No. 10 -> Atlanta)
A knee-on-knee collision last March cost the Texas freshman a chance to participate in his team’s NIT championship run but it didn’t require surgery.

Nearly three months later after the season-ending setback, the big man has participated in the Combine and started private workouts.

P.J. Washington (Mock Draft: No. 12 -> Charlotte)
Washington has recently been cleared to participate in pre-draft workouts after resting an undisclosed injury. Jason Marcum of SB Nation‘s Kentucky Wildcats blogs wonders if the issue plaguing the big man is the same foot sprain that cost him a pair of games in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

Regardless of what held Washington back at the beginning of the process, however, the big man has begun the pre-draft process and could carve out a spot in the back end of the lottery.

Romeo Langford (Mock Draft: No. 13-> Miami)
One story gaining traction as the NBA Draft approaches is Langford’s decision to play through a thumb injury that called for surgery in November. Langford battled through the 2018-19 season with a compromised shooting hand, saw his productivity dip predictably, and instead went under the knife in April.

While the decision has invariably impacted the shooting guard’s draft stock – Scott Agness of The Athletic tweets that Langford just had the hard cast removed last week – it’s a testament to Langford’s character. Langford was initially expected to participate in pre-draft workouts but is not yet ready.

Bol Bol (Mock Draft: No. 14 -> Boston)
A foot injury cost Bol Bol a substantial portion of his freshman season in Oregon but the sharp-shooting big man is close to returning to action. In mid-May, Bol told NCAA.com’s Andy Katz that he was three weeks away from returning. That would mean he’s about ready to return now, although there’s no indication he’s begun working out with teams.

Bol developed a stress fracture in his left foot in December and announced that he was shutting down for the season in early January. Colin Hoobler of The Oregonian detailed Bol’s long road to recovery earlier this year.