When Wizards restricted free agent forward Othyus Jeffers revealed that he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a workout in Chicago last July, the likelihood that he would return to the NBA this season seemed as tenuous as the chances there would actually be a season.
But Jeffers stayed optimistic that the owners and players could reach an agreement and that he could be ready soon thereafter. With the lockout close to officially ending on Friday, Jeffers’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, said that his client is “ahead of schedule” and could potentially be ready to contribute in January.
“He’s about a month away,” Bartelstein said. “I actually spoke to his doctor [on Thursday]. Can’t believe how good he’s doing. They obviously don’t want to rush him too much. But he’s already back on the court. So he’s doing well. But for him to get back and playing competitively, he’s probably a month away.”
When asked about his recovery, Jeffers wrote in a text message, “im gettin better every day we will see as time go on.”
The usual recovery time for a torn ACL is six to eight months, which would put Jeffers closer to the earlier end of that estimate. Bartelstein said he would like to have Jeffers come to Washington this week to meet with the Wizards’ medical and training staff to show his progress.
Jeffers, an energetic 6-foot-3 forward, averaged 5.7 points and 4.1 rebounds in 16 games with the Wizards last season. The Wizards tendered Jeffers a $1.06 million qualifying offer in June but would need assurances that he is healthy before bringing him back.
Bartelstein said he talked to Wizards General Manager Ernie Grunfeld about Jeffers and “they have a lot of interest in bringing him back. He’s just got to come back healthy. He’s worked really hard.”