Projected Lottery Pick Nikola Topic Has Partially Torn ACL

Nikola Topic, long considered a probable lottery pick in the 2024 draft, has been diagnosed with a partially torn ACL, agent Misko Raznatovic confirmed to Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

Topic is among the prospects currently in attendance at the NBA’s international draft combine in Treviso, Italy for players who couldn’t make it to last month’s combine in Chicago. This week’s international combine features a medical examination – including imaging – for all participants, which confirmed the diagnosis for the 6’7″ guard.

As an early entrant in this year’s draft class, Topic has until June 16 to decide whether or not he wants to keep his name in the pool. The plan, Givony writes, is for the Serbian point guard to travel in the coming days to the United States, where he’ll be evaluated by NBA team doctors and work out a treatment plan, including possible surgery.

For what it’s worth, Raznatovic told Givony that he doesn’t think the injury will have a significant impact on Topic’s draft stock due to his age (19 in August) and the early feedback from U.S. doctors who have looked at his MRIs. Those doctors have said the stability of the knee is “in excellent shape,” per Raznatovic.

While it’s hard to imagine an NBA franchise being quite as enthusiastic about using a lottery pick on a player with an injury that could cause him to miss some or all of his rookie season, Topic’s recovery timeline could be accelerated if doctors determine that reconstructive surgery isn’t necessary.

Teams drafting in the top 15 will be assured of receiving Topic’s medical information, Givony notes, due to a rule change in the new CBA. It would be up to Topic’s representatives to decide whether to share his medicals with teams outside of the top 15.

As Givony writes, Topic initially sustained a left knee injury in January while playing for Crvena Zvezda in Serbia. He returned to action in late April, but played just three Adriatic League games before hurting the knee again. The No. 9 player on ESPN’s 2024 big board, Topic was excellent when healthy in 2023/24, averaging 18.6 points and 6.9 assists per game for Mega Basket and Crvena Zvezda, per Givony.

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