Basketball / NBA

Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura still recovering from surgery following groin injury

AP

Washington Wizards rookie forward Rui Hachimura will be re-evaluated in two weeks while he continues to recover from a minor procedure associated with a groin injury he sustained on Dec. 16 in Detroit.

Hachimura, the first player from Japan to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft, rejoined the team on the sidelines on Friday in the Wizards’ loss to Portland.

“It’s been kind of weird because I’m never away from basketball like this,” Hachimura said on Saturday.

“I watch the games on TV. Coach (Scott) Brooks and (General Manager) Tommy (Sheppard) came to my house a couple days ago. I’ve been talking to my teammates.”

Originally expected to miss five games, Hachimura has missed 10 after also being out for Saturday’s game against Denver. Prior to the injury, he was averaging 13.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while starting in each of his 25 contests for Washington.

The injury occurred when teammate Isaac Bonga accidentally kicked Hachimura in the groin while trying to grab a rebound. Hachimura said Bonga felt bad and apologized and that they are both “cool”.

“I feel good,” said Hachimura, who underwent the groin procedure three weeks ago.

“I’m just ready to play. I can’t wait to play. I can’t wait to get back to the team and play games.”

Hachimura isn’t the only NBA star itching to get back on the court.

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving is rehabbing his right shoulder in hopes of rejoining his team this season, though he acknowledged he may need surgery.

Irving said Saturday he chose to get a cortisone shot late last month instead of having arthroscopic surgery, with the goal of playing for the first time since the middle of November. He said his shoulder problem began with overuse near the end of training camp and got worse early in the regular season.

He finally stopped playing after a Nov. 14 game in Denver and the Nets have said his injury is an impingement. Irving said he also had bursitis in the shoulder.

He said surgery would knock him out for at least a couple months, but he would prefer first to keep working toward playing this season, his first in Brooklyn.

“I want to go out and play,” Irving said, “so just continue to rehab and live with the results of me going out there and giving it an actual shot, going out there, being with the guys, seeing where we can land and then move forward after the season.”

He signed with Brooklyn in July but was hurt even before training camp when he was hit in the face while scrimmaging with teammates. He was hit again when he returned for an exhibition game in China, forcing him back to the sidelines.

Irving said he then tried to make up for lost time by doing extra shooting, even after games.

“It got to the point where I had overused it,” Irving said.

The All-Star point guard kept playing as the Nets struggled at the beginning of the season, even as he said the pain worsened after a home game against New Orleans on Nov. 4.

The Nets then went on a five-game road trip, where Irving continued to play until the pain got so bad he was having trouble lifting his shoulder.

“It really is disheartening when you’re working your tail off to be a certain level and then your shooting shoulder just starts to give out on you a little bit,” Irving said.