When the Golden State Warriors announced that Festus Ezeli would miss 6-8 months of the 2013-2014 season after undergoing knee surgery, it was a surprise to many fans.
It was even more surprising when he needed more than the estimated time to recover, and did not see any playing time whatsoever during the season. Ezeli appeared set to participate in Warriors’ summer league action this month and start to get back into the swing of things, but he won’t get that chance either.
The Warriors announced that Ezeli will miss summer league play due to inflammation in his right shin, although they say the injury is not serious
Ezeli, a first round pick of the Warriors two years ago, averaged 2.4 points and 4.0 rebounds his first season. He also had nearly a block per game coming off the bench.
The Warriors really missed Ezeli not only during the regular season, but especially the playoffs, when they were without Andrew Bogut, and had no big body to match up against Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers. With this new injury flaring up, the frontcourt of the Warriors has become a concern.
Bogut is injury prone, and Ezeli’s health is uncertain while his development has certainly been stunted. Other than Ezeli, the Warriors do not have much depth at the center position. Ognjen Kuzmic is available, but has seen limited action with the Warriors and may not be ready to slide into the backup center role. Veteran Jermaine O’Neal, who came off the bench last season, is likely retiring after 18 years in the league.
The Warriors have a $10 million traded player exception that expires July 10, and they may want to look around the league for big men.