ORLANDO – Martell Webster revealed that he has a partially torn labrum in his right hip on Wednesday, hours before the Washington Wizards’ season opener against the Orlando Magic.
Webster, who missed the entire preseason because of the injury, returned to practice Tuesday and participated without pain until the end, when discomfort surfaced after he took his final shot of the session. The swingman said he probably could’ve logged “5-10 minutes” in Wednesday’s game despite not having played in the preseason, but the setback has clouded his immediate future.
“It’s a hip impingement. It’s from a hip impingement,” Webster explained as his teammates walked off the court at Amway Center after the shoot-around. “The impingement is rubbing up against the leg. It tore a little bit.”
Webster, 28, said he will try to proceed without surgery but if the ailment does not improve, he would undergo a procedure to repair the hip. He said surgery would sideline him 4-6 months. The operation, he insisted, would not be career-ending, but it would be another significant setback in a career that has included three back surgeries in four years.
Webster said he first felt pain two weeks before training camp in mid-September after a workout in Washington. He then flew home to Seattle and didn’t do anything basketball-related hoping the inactivity would solve the issue. But the discomfort persisted, and he told the Wizards about it when he returned. An MRI exam showed the damage, and he was given a cortisone shot to mask the pain. The measure seemed to have fixed the problem, but irritation again emerged once training camp started.
Webster traveled to the Postural Restoration Institute in Lincoln, Neb. for a second opinion and also had an exam to figure out why he was putting so much of his weight and pressure on his right side. He was prescribed glasses to wear on the court that “shift him to the left” and by changing his perception.
“Come to find out, I wasn’t using my left glute, and I was letting my right side do all the work,” said Webster, whose contract for next season is partially guaranteed. “So this is the result of that. I didn’t know that. It didn’t feel that way. But mechanics show that, so these glasses push me back over to the left and help me use my left side of my body so right now we’re trying to exhaust that. The only thing after that is surgery.”
He explained the conditioning troubles he experienced at practice Tuesday were expected because he was completely inactive in recent weeks, but the glasses are the most significant adjustment because he feels closer to the ground – essentially shorter – and his surroundings seem condensed, which is supposed to help his center of gravity.
“You almost feel like you’re in a whole different world when you put these glasses on,” Webster said.
Webster will undergo surgery only when the situation clearly isn’t progressing. Despite Tuesday’s setback, the measures taken thus far have been encouraging, though he isn’t sure when he will be able to return and emphasized he would rather not have the discomfort linger and limit his performance this season only to have the procedure done later on.
“We’d go back to the drawing board,” Webster said, “and see if surgery is the best possible solution.”