Wizards swingman Martell Webster out 3-5 months following back surgery

 


Wizards small forward Martell Webster is expected to miss three to five months following surgery on Thursday to repair a herniated disc in his lower back (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

Washington Wizards forward Martell Webster will be out for three to five months following successful surgery Thursday to repair a herniated disc in his lower back, the team announced Friday.

The surgical procedure, which is called a microdisectomy and was performed in Los Angeles by Dr. Robert Watkins Jr., is the same operation that golfer Tiger Woods had in March before returning to action this week at his own tournament, the Quicken Loans National, at Congressional County Club in Bethesda.

The Wizards said Webster suffered the injury last week during a routine workout at the team’s practice facility. The swingman is expected to begin rehab immediately but will miss training camp and perhaps be out for the start of the regular season.

The news heightens the need for the Wizards to re-sign small forward Trevor Ariza, who is set to become a free agent July 1. A Wizards contingent flew out Friday to meet with other high-priority free-agent-to-be Marcin Gortat, and members of the front office are expected to have a similar meeting with Ariza in the very near future.

This week’s surgery marks the third back operation of Webster’s nine-year career. The first came in October 2010, causing him to miss nearly half of the subsequent season as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Webster again had back surgery in September 2011 and played in just 47 games during the 2011-12 campaign, leading him to contemplate retirement. He also sat out a March 3 contest against Memphis earlier this year because of back soreness.

After averaging a career-high 11.4 points as a starter in 2012-13, his first season with the Wizards, Webster signed a four-year, $22 million deal with Washington before undergoing abdominal surgery last summer.  The emergence of Ariza moved Webster to the sixth-man slot, where he averaged 9.7 points and 2.8 rebounds this past season.

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