BOSTON (CBS) — Gerald Wallace’s season with the Boston Celtics is over.
The small forward underwent successful arthroscopic surgeries on his left knee and his left ankle this morning at New England Baptist Hospital.
The surgeries were performed by Celtics team physician Dr. Brian McKeon and were assisted by Dr. Mark Slovenkai, the team announced.
“The report that I got from Ed Lacerte was that they did both, the ankle and the knee, and that both went well,” Brad Stevens said at practice today. “I think the ankle [procedure] alone was three to four months [of recovery time], so he’s out,” Stevens said, confirming Wallace’s absence for the remainder of the season.
The most amazing part of Wallace’s surgery? It’s the first one of his life. That’s a major surprise for a player nicknamed “Crash” who has played 13 NBA seasons. In a nod to Wallace’s toughness, he’s played through various ailments throughout his NBA career, including bone spurs in his ankle this year, before a torn left meniscus put him on the shelf.
“I’d still be playing,” Wallace said, if it weren’t for the knee issue. “The ankle was no problem. The ankle is something I’ve had since last year. I already knew it, had already talked to the doctor before and throughout the season. We had talked about it. We had already made plans to go in and clean it out after the season anyway, so the ankle wasn’t a big issue. It wasn’t a major problem for me. It was something that I could play through. It didn’t affect the way I felt out on the court playing, so it didn’t bother me at all.”
Wallace continued: “I’m very disappointed, just the simple fact that the [knee] injury, not knowing how long I’ve been playing with it and what was going on. It was just a pain that kind of felt different in my knee. It’s disappointing to end my season this way, just when it felt like I was starting to play at a pretty high level.”
Wallace is concerned about the prospect of surgery at this stage of his life. He’s set to turn 32 this July, and has played over 25,000 minutes during his NBA career.
“You always worry about having surgery,” Wallace acknowledged, “Especially on my knee at my stage of my career. It’s a concern. It’s just something I’m going to have to work through and kind of push myself in the offseason to get better and get back to 100 percent.”
One thing close to certain is that we haven’t seen the last of Wallace in Boston in all likelihood. The veteran still has two more years remaining on his contract that is set to pay him $10.1 million dollars over the next two seasons.
It’s one of the worst contracts in the NBA right now and the Celtics would have to sacrifice some serious assets to get him off the books, making a trade this offseason an unlikely scenario.
The team could also use the stretch provision on Wallace, which would spread out his cap hit over the next four years. It’s more probable that Danny Ainge would prefer to not have dead money on the books that far into the future. Simply letting Wallace’s contract expire in the summer of 2016, just as Ainge’s rebuild comes to completion, may be the more appealing option.
So for now, Wallace stays in Boston, a place where he’s surprisingly had an enjoyable time despite a rough start to his tenure.
“The experience has been fun,” Wallace admitted. “Losing sucks. It always does. I feel like we’re a lot better than what our record shows. We’ve had some ups and downs, some learning curves, not only from the players, but from the coaching staff as well. Everybody learning everybody was an adjustment. But I think, for the most part, it’s been a great season.”