The Wizards frontcourt depth has taken a hit to start the season with the news that Ian Mahinmi has suffered a partially torn medial meniscus in his left knee, according to a press release from the team. An MRI revealed the partial tear and Mahinmi underwent successful surgery on Friday evening, according to the report. He is expected to be sidelined for four to six weeks as a result.
After starting just 21 of his 367 career NBA games before last season, Mahinmi received a more significant role from the Pacers, and started all 71 of the games he played for the team in 2015/16. Mahinmi parlayed his solid year in Indiana into one of the more impressive free agent contracts of the summer, agreeing to a four-year, $64MM deal with the team in July.
The 29-year-old was slotted as the primary backup to center Marcin Gortat, with the Wizards reportedly expecting big things this season from Mahinmi. With Jason Smith, Johnny O’Bryant and Andrew Nicholson the only current options on the roster to absorb Mahinmi’s minutes, none of whom are true centers, Washington may need to consider adding another big man to the roster for insurance.
In three preseason games for the team, Mahinmi shot 55.6% from the field and averaged 4.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 1.0 steal in 13.6 minutes per outing.