Ian Mahinmi is injured again, and it doesn’t sound like he’s going to be ready when the Washington Wizards tip off their first-round playoff series with the Atlanta Hawks.
From The Washington Post‘s Candace Buckner:
On Wednesday, Coach Scott Brooks announced that Ian Mahinmi will miss the team’s regular season finale in Miami, as well as upcoming games, as he deals with a strained left calf. Mahinmi underwent an MRI exam that revealed swelling. He will be evaluated again in 7 to 10 days.
Although the NBA has not yet released the playoff schedule, the evaluation timeline could keep Mahinmi sidelined for at least the opening three games of the first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks.
“Hopefully he feels better then, but you never know,” Brooks said. “But he’s definitely going to miss the first couple of games [of the playoffs].”
Mahinmi has spent most of his first season with the Wizards on the sidelines. He dealt with injuries to both knees, and even after returning needed to get platelet treatments on both of them. It’s good that this is a calf injury, suggesting it’s not related to his other setbacks. Still, it’s bad. The Wizards signed Mahinmi to a four-year, $64 million deal over the summer. They need him to be on the court to even think about getting their money’s worth.
Rotations shorten in the playoffs, but the Wizards have been leaning heavily on their key-most players all year. Their starting lineup is one of the most used five-man combos over the last decade. As mid-April becomes late April, and late April becomes what the Wizards hope to be May, fatigue could be an issue. Having a capable big, defensive-minded body on the bench to help with the increased physicality, or just to shoulder some of Marcin Gortat’s load, is a solid luxury to have.
Washington, unfortunately, just doesn’t know if it’s going to have it.