- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 15, 2016

Ian Mahinmi’s right knee continues to be a conundrum for the Washington Wizards.

The strange part, is that Mahinmi’s problem knee is not the one he had an operation on in October. That was his left knee. Mahinmi had a partial tear of the medial meniscus occur during the Wizards’ Oct. 14 preseason game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Mahinmi’s timeline for return from the surgery was 4-6 weeks.

Following his rehabilitation, Mahinmi, the backup center who cost the Wizards $64 million in the offseason, debuted on Nov. 16. He played 14 minutes. He has not played since.

The issue in Mahinmi’s right knee has been labeled “tendinitis” by Washington coach Scott Brooks. Last week, Brooks said Mahinmi would be out for 7-10 days. Friday marks the seven-day point of that projection.

Mahinmi participated in shootaround Thursday, then worked out lightly and separately later. Brooks said the extra work was a “a little more than” the other day.

“He’s had some soreness in his knee and we’ve done the MRI and everything came back clean,” Brooks said. “He’s just going to have to continue to get the treatments and I hate to keep saying day-to-day, but last week we said 7-10 days. We want to make sure he feels comfortable and we feel comfortable. He has to go through our checklist that our medical staff puts together. Until he meets all of those, he’s not going to be put on the court. We’re all excited to have him. Obviously, we could use his skill set and defensive toughness and what he brings to our team. Veteran, experienced, leadership. But, right now, it has to be on hold until he gets back.”

Brooks also said “right now the pain is high” for Mahinmi, though improving.

“We just have to be patient,” Brooks said. “We’d love to have him out there, but we’re not going to put him out there in a situation where he’s not ready. It’s going to happen soon. I just don’t know when.”

Mahinmi’s absence has forced third-string center Jason Smith into many more minutes than was expected in the preseason. Smith had his best game of the season on Wednesday night when he scored 12 points and had seven rebounds. Otherwise, the start to his season has been dismal. Smith, primarily a jump-shooting big man, is shooting 45.5 percent from the field. His player efficiency rating is 6.49. League average in that category is 15.

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