A Maricopa County (Ariz.) Superior Court jury found Markieff Morris and his twin, Marcus, not guilty on two counts of aggravated assault Tuesday.
The verdict ends a legal proceeding that lasted more than two years for the Morris twins and, from a basketball perspective, should allow Markieff Morris, the Wizards’ starting power forward, to avoid a suspension.
The Morris twins were accused of taking part in a group assault on 36-year-old Erik Hood two years ago in Phoenix. The identical twins pleaded not guilty. Two of the five men charged with the assault had previously pleaded guilty.
Markieff Morris is currently in the rehabilitation process following sports hernia surgery Sept. 22. The team projected his recovery timeline to be 6-8 weeks, which means Morris could miss up to 18 games to start the regular season. If he had been found guilty, the NBA could have considered suspending him for 10 games or more. Players are not able to serve a suspension while injured.
Instead, Morris will focus on getting back to the Wizards’ starting lineup. He was replaced in the preseason opener by Jason Smith. Other options at power forward include Mike Scott or playing with a smaller lineup that puts Otto Porter at the position.
The Wizards will face the New York Knicks on Friday night in Capital One Arena during their second preseason game. Washington, the defending Southeast Division champions, opens the season at home against the Philadelphia 76ers on Oct. 18.