- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 20, 2016

For another month-and-a-half, the Washington Wizards will be without their second-largest offseason investment.

Backup center Ian Mahinmi will miss approximately six more weeks after receiving platelet-rich plasma injections in both knees, the team announced Tuesday.

Mahinmi was paid $64 million in the offseason and has played just 14 minutes so far. He had surgery to repair a partially torn medial meniscus in his left knee on Oct. 14. During the recovery process, Mahinmi aggravated patellar tendinitis in his right knee and sustained a bone bruise in his left knee, according to the team.

The PRP injections will be administered at the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. The injections are designed to expedite healing by using a specific portion of a person’s blood with a higher platelet concentration that is separated out by a centrifuge. The practice has become common in athletics.

While Mahinmi heals, the Wizards (12-15) will continue their scramble to fill his spot. He was signed to be a defensive anchor for the second unit, but instead has watched from the bench. Third-string center Jason Smith has played most of the minutes available because of Mahinmi’s absence. He too was signed in the offseason, however, Smith was brought to the team as a deep bench player, not someone expected to receive regular minutes in the rotation.

Mahinmi, 30, has never played 82 games in his eight-plus seasons in the NBA. That is in part because of performance and part because of injury. Last season, he started 71 games for the Indiana Pacers, prompting the Wizards to sign him and let veteran Nene, who was often injured, leave as a free agent.

Without Mahinmi, rookie Daniel Ochefu could receive an increase in playing time. The 6-foot-11 23-year-old played nine minutes and five minutes, respectively, in the last two games after playing nine minutes total to that point in the season.

Washington could also consider cutting one of the three rookies on non-guaranteed contracts — Ochefu, guard Sheldon McClellan or injured forward Danuel House — to open a roster spot for a big man not currently with the team.

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