Rui Hachimura will have to wait a few weeks before he can join the Washington Wizards this season.
Hachimura will miss at least the first three weeks of the season with a severe case of conjunctivitis, or pinkeye, the team announced on Monday, via the Washington Post.
The 22-year-old was diagnosed last week, which made coach Scott Brooks hopeful that he’d be ready for their season debut on Wednesday. That, though, is not the case — as Hachimura is experiencing both blurred vision and light sensitivity.
“I was hoping last week, thinking that it would clear up in two or three days, he could be back on the court, couple more days later he’d be back. But he has a severe case,” Brooks said, via the Washington Post. “It’s a long season. I know sometimes when you’re in the grind it doesn’t seem every game is so important and so critical, but he’s a young player, and he needed those reps and practice and training camp, those exhibition games. We’re going to have to figure it out without him until he comes back.”
Hachimura averaged 13.5 points and 6.1 rebounds last season for Washington, which took him with the No. 9 pick in the 2019 draft. Three weeks from Monday would mean that Hachimura could return in time for their matchup with the Phoenix Suns on Jan. 11, limiting him to just 10 games lost in the shortened 72-game season.
That, though, will simply depend on how fast he can recover. Until then, Brooks said they will likely fill his spot in the lineup “by committee” with Moe Wagner, Thomas Bryant and Anthony Gill.
While the loss is significant, Hachimura’s pinkeye hasn’t spread to anyone else in the organization.
“I’m sure early on he was [contagious], but give credit to everybody, I mean everybody in our building — we are diligent to a point it just seems like, man, we don’t even get close to one another,” Brooks said, via the Washington Post. “The hygiene and the social distance and the mask and the coaches, we do a pretty good job. Nobody has it. We’re pretty good with that.”
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