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Ian Mahinmi to miss start of NBA Playoffs with calf injury

ian mahinmi

Keith Allison/ Flickr

Ian Mahinmi will start the postseason the same way he started the regular season — injured and not playing. The Washington Wizards center will miss Wednesday’s regular season finale against the Miami Heat, head coach Scott Brooks announced. Brooks added he will miss the start of the playoffs as well with a strained calf.

He suffered the injury in Washington’s 105-101 win over the Detroit Pistons on Monday. The game was meaningless for the Wizards as they were already locked into the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference for the playoffs. An MRI on Tuesday revealed swelling in the calf, forcing him to be out for indefinite time frame. He will be re-evaluated in 7 to 10 days.

Mahinmi missed 50 of the Wizards first 51 games dealing with multiple knee issues. In October, he underwent surgery for a torn medial meniscus in his left knee. He later developed soreness in his right knee and after playing just one game, missed additional six weeks after receiving platelet-rich plasma injections on both knees.

Mahinmi had just worked himself into good shape and was a solid contributor within the Wizards rotation. He played 30 games straight after returning to the team on Feb. 8. He averaged 5.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks per game coming off the bench. His value stated larger than his hard stat line. Per 36 minutes, he averaged 11.2 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.2 steals, and 1.6 blocks. He also possesses the best defensive rating per 100 possessions (103) of any Wizards’ players currently on the roster.

He gave the Wizards an immediate upgrade in rim protection and pick-and-roll defense. He was brought in this offseason in a four-year deal worth $16 million to backup Marcin Gortat. But in flashes he provided an upgrade from Gortat, and played some strong minutes down the stretch for Washington late in games.

Now the Wizards’ depth shrinks, forcing Jason Smith to be the primary backup to Gortat in at least the first couple of games during their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Atlanta Hawks. Brooks may need to lean on smaller lineup more often than he anticipated, with Markieff Morris possibly sliding to the five with Otto Porter or Jason Smith playing in the stretch-four role during stretches of games.

“We’ve played well without him,” Brooks said of Mahinmi via Candace Buckner of the Washington Post. “Obviously we’re a better team with him, but we’ve won a lot of games without him. Hopefully, he comes back.”

All stats via Basketball-Reference.com

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