Thomas Bryant is still roughly two months away from his return from ACL surgery, but Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. is very encouraged with his progress. Bryant, 24, has been participating in non-contact practice drills and, according to Unseld Jr., does not look like a guy who is months away from playing in an NBA game.
"I don't want to put a timeline on Thomas. He looks well ahead of schedule, I'll say that, with the things he's able to do on the floor. But I still think we need a cautious approach. He's come a long way. In my layman's eyes, he's probably ahead of schedule, but I'll leave those decisions to the medical people," Unseld Jr. said.
Bryant suffered a partially torn left ACL in January and had surgery to repair the ligament in February. He is only about eight months removed from the procedure, which generally carries an 8-to-12 month rehab.
The Wizards appear intent on having Bryant fall in the middle of that range and they will stick to that plan, even if Bryant feels ready earlier.
"He feels good to be out there and his teammates look forward to him being part of what we're doing. We just have to kind of be the guys to keep him in check because he's eager to get out there and we don't want him to overextend himself at this point," Unseld Jr. said.
The Wizards are anticipating Bryant's return, even though they have some depth at his position with Daniel Gafford and Montrezl Harrell. Bryant has developed into one of the more efficient scorers and most accurate outside shooters at the center position. He has shot 41.1% from three in the past two seasons combined.
For a team that ranked in the bottom-third of all three-point shooting categories last season, they could use what he does best, but only when the time is right for him to come back.