Southeast Notes: Bryant, Leonard, Okeke, Hawks

Wizards center Thomas Bryant underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair a partially torn ACL in his left knee, Ava Wallace of the Washington Post tweets. Bryant suffered the season-ending injury more than three weeks ago. Bryant, 23, was averaging a career-best 14.3 PPG, along with 6.1 RPG in the team’s first 10 games. He is expected to be sidelined 9-12 months. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent after next season.

We have more on the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat are expected to apply for a disabled player exception in the aftermath of Meyers Leonard‘s season-ending shoulder surgery, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel tweets. The DPE would be worth $4.7MM. A DPE gives a team the opportunity to add an injury replacement by either signing a player to a one-year contract, trading for a player in the final year of his contract, or placing a waiver claim on a player in the final year of his contract.
  • Magic rookie Chuma Okeke returned to action after being out since New Year’s Eve due to a bone bruise in his left knee, Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel tweets. Okeke tore his left ACL in March 2019 while a sophomore at Auburn but Orlando still chose him with the No. 16 pick in that summer’s draft. He missed last season recovering from that injury.
  • The Hawks invested heavily in the free agent market but they’ve relied on their young players so far with many of those offseason pickups sidelined by injuries, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic notes. Their bench has scored the third-fewest amount of points due to those injuries but they’ve still been able to hover around the .500 mark. “It shows that the hard work we’ve been putting in behind closed doors is paying off,” big man John Collins said. “I feel like just as a team and organization, you’re always going to put a lot of stock into your young players.”
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