Six weeks turned into 12 weeks, over which time it apparently became clear to Portland center Festus Ezeli and the Trail Blazers that Ezeli’s more conservative treatment of his aching left knee wasn’t working. So now the 6-foot-11 center, a free agent signee who has yet to play for Portland, is likely headed to season-ending surgery, according to The Vertical.
The medical update came Saturday afternoon courtesy of that Web site’s Shams Charania:
Vertical Sources: Portland center Festus Ezeli is likely to undergo season-ending surgery on his left knee. Finalizing procedure decision.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 17, 2016
Ezeli, who was limited to just 46 appearances in each of his final two seasons with the Golden State Warriors, received injections of bone-marrow aspirate concentrate on Aug. 23, with an expected recovery time of six weeks. But he suffered what was considered to be a minor setback in mid-October after the knee swelled up and grew painful on the heels of practicing on consecutive days.
Without sufficient improvement since then, surgery looms. Ezeli, 27, signed a two-year, $15.1 million contract that pays him $7.4 million this season but with only $1 million guaranteed on his 2017-18 salary. Ezeli has career averages of 4.2 ppg and 4.3 rpg but Golden State’s style of play limited him to 14.1 minutes per game. On a per-36 minute basis last season, the No. 30 pick in the 2012 Draft from Vanderbilt contributed 15.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 2.3 blocks with a 17.7 player efficiency rating.