Golden State Warriors' James Wiseman participates in contact drills for first time since knee injury

ByKendra Andrews ESPN logo
Wednesday, February 9, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY --Golden State WarriorscenterJames Wiseman participated in contact drills on Tuesday afternoon for the first time in 10 months, taking part in a three-on-three scrimmage after practice in Salt Lake City.

This marks the clearing of a major hurdle for Wiseman, who has been out since tearing his right meniscus last April.

"It's big for him, individually, just to get closer to playing," Warriors guard Stephen Curry told ESPN. "And once he does start playing, hopefully he can stay in the rotation, stay off the injury list and get reps. He's young, he has a lot to learn. But you can only learn by doing it and getting out there. Understanding what NBA basketball is like. He deserves an opportunity with everything he's been through already in such a short period.

"I'm excited for him. There are a couple more hurdles to get through to get back on the floor, but he has an amazing opportunity to join us at the right time down the stretch to see what he can provide."

Last week, Warriors general manager Bob Myers said there have been several occasions when Wiseman "walked up to the doorstep of contact," but each time the knee reacted in a way that kept the training staff from clearing him for that work.

Wiseman was initially projected to return around training camp, just six months after his repair surgery. That date was then pushed back to November, and then pushed back another month when he had a procedure to help reduce swelling.

After the delays, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he didn't want to speculate on any more return dates, and instead would share updates as they happened in real time.

On Saturday, Kerr said that Wiseman had participated in full practice without contact.

"He picked up everything really quickly," Kerr said on Saturday. "This being James' second season, he's got a foundation of knowledge that's going to be really important for him when he does get back on the floor."

Wiseman's three-on-three scrimmage on Tuesday lasted for only about 15 minutes, but the 7-foot-1 center was all smiles as he walked off the court. As Curry said, it was the major hurdle standing in Wiseman's way. Now, he can check that one off the list.