Wizards players react to Deni Avdija’s ankle injury originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Despite a wild victory over the Warriors on Wednesday for the Wizards’ sixth-straight win, there will be the lasting image of Deni Avdija on the floor grabbing his right ankle that will stick in the minds of Wizards players and coaches all year long.
Late in the second quarter, the Wizards’ rookie landed awkwardly on his right foot and had to be taken off the floor in a wheelchair. A teammate was quick to throw a towel over the right ankle.
“Seeing a guy go down like that is real scary,” Daniel Gafford said. “You never know what’s going to happen, you never know if it’s going to be bad or it’s going to be good. Just seeing him down on the floor, I felt his pain. I understand, it’s going to be a long road to recovery. But with the trainers we got, he’s in good hands, they’re going to take care of him. I’m pretty sure he’s gonna be out for a good amount of time. It’s tough, it’s real tough.”
Avdija, 20, was the Wizards’ first round selection (ninth overall) in last year’s draft. He’s averaged 6.3 points per game and 4.9 rebounds so far this season, which has reportedly been cut short, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“My first reaction was to pray for him, to pray for him and his mental wellness because that’s what’s going to get him through these tough times," Westbrook said. "Our job is to make sure we support him.”
The diagnosis is reportedly a hairline fracture in the right ankle, but the injury won’t require surgery.
“I talked to him a little bit after the game, he’s in good spirits, he was energetic, he’s happy we won,” Bradley Beal said. “But my advice is the same I would give myself when I was a rookie: Understand your body is growing, there’s going to be a lot of ups and downs, there’s going to be a lot of stuff you can control, can’t control.”
Coach Scott Books said he hadn’t had a conversation with the medical staff just yet after the game and didn’t confirm the report that Avdija’s season was indeed over.
But if it is -- as has been reported -- Avdija certainly made a strong impression in his first season as a Wizard.
“Two things about Deni I love,” Brooks began. “He cares, a lot. Deni works extremely hard, and those are two characteristics we want our program to be about. He’s about those things. Has he had an up and down year? Absolutely. The MVPs in the league, look at their rookie years. It’s no different. Sometimes we put so much pressure on these guys to be 27-year-olds right away.”