In the lead-up to the start of the Washington Wizards’ training camp, a couple of key players will be notably absent. The team announced on Sunday evening that center Daniel Gafford has sustained a left elbow sprain, while guard Landry Shamet has suffered a fracture in his left big toe. Both players are anticipated to be sidelined for a duration of two to four weeks.
This development comes just as the Wizards were set to kick off their media day on Monday, followed by the commencement of training camp on Tuesday, signifying the dawn of a new era for the franchise. With the departure of franchise player Bradley Beal to the Phoenix Suns in June, the reins of a rebuild now rest in the hands of Monumental Basketball President Michael Winger and General Manager Will Dawkins, who are relatively new additions to the organization.
The regular season opener for the Wizards is slated for October 25th against the Indiana Pacers, with their first home game taking place on October 28th against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Heading into training camp, the Wizards will have a roster of 21 players, many of whom are fresh faces. Among them, Shamet, 26, arrived from Phoenix as part of the Beal trade, having previously played for the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, and Philadelphia 76ers. In his most recent stint with the Suns, he averaged 8.7 points in 20.2 minutes across 40 games last season.
The absence of Gafford may have a more immediate impact as he is a rotation player who started in 47 games last season. The 25-year-old center posted averages of 9.0 points and 5.6 rebounds while often operating within a two-center lineup alongside Kristaps Porzingis throughout the previous season. Given that Porzingis is now with the Boston Celtics, Gafford’s injury leaves the team somewhat short-handed in the frontcourt, with recently acquired Mike Muscala emerging as the sole alternative at the center position.
Beyond Gafford’s and Shamet’s injuries, the Wizards are fortunate to enter training camp with the rest of the roster in good health.