One of the Trail Blazers’ free agent additions this summer, center Festus Ezeli, has yet to make his debut with the team, and suffered a minor setback last month in his effort to return from a knee issue, writes Jason Quick of CSNNW.com.
According to Quick, Ezeli took part in a pair of Portland practices in mid-October, which led to swelling in his troublesome left knee. The Blazers pulled back on his activity at that point, and have only allowed the big man to participate in 5-on-0 drills since then. The team has said recently that there’s no definite timeline for Ezeli’s return.
“I practiced, and that’s what happens sometimes – it reacts, swells up, you go back, regress and come back,” Ezeli said. “I’m just continuing to work and grind through this rehab. That’s all I can do.”
Ezeli, who signed a two-year, $15MM+ deal with the Blazers earlier this year, had his left knee injected with a bone marrow aspirate concentrate back in late August. At that point, the Blazers indicated that the ex-Warrior was expected to be sidelined for six weeks. However, he continues to rehab his knee two and a half months later.
Ezeli underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee back in February, and according to a July report by Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, a number of teams passed on signing the big man because they were worried about his durability. Ultimately, the deal he landed with Portland was for far less money than other solid free agent centers – such as Ian Mahinmi and Timofey Mozgov – received, and is only guaranteed for one year.