Washington Wizards’ center Ian Mahinmi underwent surgery on a partially torn medical meniscus in his left knee on Friday, according to Wizards Today.
The injury occurred in Thursday’s preseason matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers. A MRI conducted on Friday revealed the damage and Mahinmi underwent the aforementioned procedure soon after. He is expected to miss four to six weeks, meaning he will miss the beginning of the regular season as well.
Mahinmi, a native of France, was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs and spent time with the Dallas Mavericks before carving out a role after being traded to the Indiana Pacers. He spent three years as the backup center before starting all 71 games he played in 2015. He was one of many players to cash in on the rising salary cap during the 2016 offseason, signing a four-year, $64 million deal with the Wizards on July 7.
Mahinmi averaged 9.3 points and 7.1 rebounds in 25.6 minutes per game as a starter last season. He also put up 1.1 blocks per outing and had a defensive rating of 100 with a net rating of +14, per Basketball-Reference.
The Wizards will now have incumbent starter Marcin Gortat and Jason Smith at center when the season begins. The addition of Mahinmi for a large deal seemed strange to some given that Gortat is entering the third year of a five-year, $60 million deal. Like many contracts, the payment was due to the sudden spike in cap space, space the Wizards needed to fill.
Regardless, the Wizards will want Mahinmi to start earning that money as soon as he is healthy enough to return from the meniscus tear.