FRIDAY, 11:28am: Richardson confirmed to reporters, including Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News (Twitter link), that he'll undergo surgery next week and could be out as long as 9-12 months.
WEDNESDAY, 8:06pm: Spears provides more detail on Richardson's injury, which is a cartilage tear on his kneecap.
7:49pm: Sixers shooting guard Jason Richardson will have left knee surgery and miss the rest of the season, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports, via Twitter. The recovery will take six to nine months, Spears adds, and that could put his return for the start of next season in jeopardy as well (Twitter link). It's unclear exactly what kind of injury Richardson suffered, but he's been out since January 19th with fluid in that knee.
It's frustrating news for Sixers fans, who've yet to see Andrew Bynum play a game for Philadelphia. Richardson was the only other player acquired in the blockbuster four-team summer deal that brought in Bynum for Andre Iguodala, Nikola Vucevic, Maurice Harkless and a first-round pick. It's also a blow to the team's playoff hopes, as Philly stands three games behind the similarly banged-up Celtics for the last Eastern Conference playoff spot entering tonight.
It's past the deadline to file for a disabled player exception, but the Sixers some have room to maneuver, since they still have a prorated portion of their $2.575MM room exception available, plus they have an open roster spot. It's unlikely they'd find a player of Richardson's caliber unless they made a trade, but his impact on the team was muted this year as the 32-year-old struggled to career worsts in shooting percentage (40.2%) and points per game (10.5). Richardson is making $5.8MM in the second season of a four-year deal, so the Sixers probably wouldn't have much luck dangling his contract in a trade, especially given his decline in production.
While Bynum may return around the All-Star break, the Sixers are also without Thaddeus Young for at least three weeks with a hamstring injury. Before the news about Richardson broke, GM Tony DiLeo told reporters, including John Finger of CSNPhilly.com, that the team would emphasize a forward-looking approach with any deadline deals, as opposed to a quick fix. That isn't likely to change with Richardson out.
"We’re talking to every team in the league and if there is something we think that will improve the team, and not just in the short-term, we’ll see what we can do," DiLeo said. "We’re looking to build."