Khem Birch Undergoes Arthroscopic Surgery On Knee

Raptors center Khem Birch underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Wednesday in Los Angeles, the team announced today in a press release. The procedure took place at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute, a day after Zach LaVine underwent a similar procedure there.

According to the Raptors, the surgery cleaned up “loose debris” in Birch’s knee. The expectation is that he’ll be ready to go for the start of training camp in September.

After joining the Raptors on the buyout market during the second half of the 2020/21 season, Birch signed a new three-year, $20MM contract with the club last offseason. Hampered by his troublesome right knee and other injuries in ’21/22, the 29-year-old appeared in just 55 games, starting 28 of them. He averaged 4.5 PPG and 4.3 RPG with a career-worst .485 FG% in 18.0 minutes per contest.

Still, Birch’s deal is fully guaranteed for all three years, so barring a trade, he’ll be back in Toronto next season. It’s unclear whether he’ll have an opportunity to reenter the starting lineup, however, given the emergence of young big man Precious Achiuwa, as well as the Raptors’ willingness to start three forwards – Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and Scottie Barnes – in lieu of a center.

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