Martell Webster missed the entire preseason with hip issues. It looked like things were getting better when he returned to practice this week, but just when it looked like things might be getting better, this happened:
Martell Webster said he has a partially torn labrum in his right hip. Gonna try to play thru it but it flared up at practice yesterday.— Jorge Castillo (@jorgeccastillo) October 28, 2015
If Webster undergoes surgery, he’d be out 4-6 months.— Jorge Castillo (@jorgeccastillo) October 28, 2015
So how is Webster trying to avoid potentially season-ending surgery? With new glasses. Allow J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic to explain:
In an unusual twist, Webster now is wearing prescription eyewear (PRI) that is designed to improve his balance by keeping him level so he doesn't put too much stress on his right hip. That, he said, is the source of his pain. He hopes that corrects the problem which is called postural restoration and he can avoid surgery.
Webster traveled to the Postural Restoration Institute in Lincoln, Neb. for a second opinion and also had an exam to figure out why he was putting so much of his weight and pressure on his right side. He was prescribed glasses to wear on the court that "shift him to the left" and by changing his perception.
"Come to find out, I wasn’t using my left glute, and I was letting my right side do all the work," said Webster, whose contract for next season is partially guaranteed. "So this is the result of that. I didn’t know that. It didn’t feel that way. But mechanics show that, so these glasses push me back over to the left and help me use my left side of my body so right now we’re trying to exhaust that. The only thing after that is surgery."
So Webster's entire season rides on this pair of glasses. If they can't help Webster get back on track, he'll have to go back under the knife in what could be a contract year (more on that in a second).
If Webster has to face another surgery, the Wizards should have enough wing depth to manage without him. Between Otto Porter, Jared Dudley, and maybe even Kelly Oubre, there's enough players to get by until Alan Anderson returns.
So while the Wizards would be okay, it's another tough break for Webster. The swingman has dealt with plenty since he signed a four-year, $22 million deal that paid him more than DeMarre Carroll, Mike Dunleavy or Corey Brewer received in the summer of 2013. Though it's worth noting the final season of Webster's deal is only partially guaranteed for $2 million, so long as he plays less than 70 games this season and the Wizards do not keep him around for next season, according to J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic.
Assuming the Wizards don't trade Webster this season, the team could use the "stretch provision" to lower Webster's cap hit for the 2016-17 season, but they should be in fine position to pursue a max free agent whether they choose to use the provision or not.
Still, it's sad to see that we've come to this with Martell Webster. The Wizards won big on the initial bet on Webster's health in 2012, when they signed him to a cheap deal after two back surgeries and he rewarded them with the best season of his career. But when the Wizards doubled-down on Webster, things went downhill quickly for Webster and the Wizards.
Trevor Ariza beat out Webster for the starting small forward position in training camp after he signed his new deal. As Ariza put together his case for a big contract in 2014, Webster's performance declined as he played more minutes without John Wall and has his back issues flared up again. He had a third back surgery in the summer of 2014, which limited him to 32 games of ineffective play last season.
This was supposed to be the year where Webster reclaimed his value and showed he still had some of that magical 2012-13 season left, but it's looking more and more like that's not going to be the case. Let's just hope that wearing glasses has the opposite effect on Webster that it did on Otto Porter.