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Festus Ezeli to miss 6-9 months following knee surgery

By Matt Moore | NBA writer

Festus Ezeli is out 6-9 months after knee surgery.   (USATSI)
Festus Ezeli is out 6-9 months after knee surgery. (USATSI)

The Warriors announced Thursday that center Festus Ezeli will miss 6-9 months after knee surgery on Wednesday to "reinforce both the MCL and PCL" in his right knee. From the Warriors:

Golden State Warriors center Festus Ezeli underwent successful surgery yesterday on his right knee, the team announced. The procedure, which was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles, was necessary to reinforce both the medial collateral ligament and posterior cruciate ligament in Ezeli's right knee. Ezeli suffered a sprained right knee during the club's regular-season finale this season at Portland on April 17. He will begin rehabilitation in the near future and is expected to make a complete recovery. The team's medical staff indicates that recovery time could be a minimum of 6-9 months.

Ezeli, 23, appeared in 78 regular-season games (41 starts) as a rookie this past season, averaging 2.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 0.95 blocks (4th among NBA rookies) in 14.4 minutes per game. His 41 starts were the most by a Warriors rookie center since Joe Barry Carroll started 80 games in 1980-81 and also marked the second-most starts among NBA rookies this season -- trailing only teammate Harrison Barnes (81).

Originally selected by Golden State with the 30th overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, the 6'11” center appeared in 12 playoff games, averaging 2.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in 11.2 minutes per contest.

Ezeli actually contributed significant minutes in the Warriors' playoff run, going from eight minutes per game vs. the Nuggets in the Warriors' first-round upset to 13 minutes per contest in the six-game loss to the Spurs.

Losing Ezeli puts major pressure on veteran center Andrew Bogut to remain healthy, something he's had trouble with this season, and it adds to the value of impending free agent Carl Landry. The Warriors may be scrambling for big men next season, just months removed from a playoff run that looked so promising.

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