The hip injury that has kept Martell Webster from taking the floor for the Wizards so far this season will now likely cost him the entire season. After more than a month of trying alternative methods to avoid going under the knife, Webster has decided enough is enough and is opting for the surgery to repair his partially torn labrum, according to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post:
"We tried everything else and I just wasn’t getting the results that I wanted," Webster said. "So I wanted to go out and get it taken care of rather than playing this season in some discomfort and then wait until the offseason to get it taken care of and then rehab the whole offseason and then try to find a rhythm come training camp. I’d rather take care of it now."
Now that we know Webster is going to miss significant time, you may be wondering what this means for his future with the Wizards. Let's try to tackle some burning questions you may have.
This means Webster is probably out for the year, right?
Most likely. If Webster were to return four months from Friday, when he plans on having surgery, he would return March 20th. But considering how he and the Wizards handled his rehab from back surgery last season, don't be shocked if both sides take the long view here. Martell Webster is probably going to be entering free agency this summer (more on that in a second) so it's in his best interest to make sure he doesn't rush back, and the Wizards have been holding it down this season without him anyway, so they really don't need to rush him back either.
Have we seen Martell Webster in a Wizards uniform for the last time?
It would be very, very surprising to see him back next season. Webster's contract is only partially guaranteed for $2.5 million next season. The only ways Webster could guarantee he gets the full $5.7 million is if he plays 70 games this season, which clearly isn't happening, or if he's still on the roster next season. Since the Wizards need all the cap space they can get this summer, it makes far more sense to take the $2.5 million hit than roll the dice that he's worth closer $5.7 million next season.
So why not just waive him now if he isn't going to play for the Wizards again?
There are two issues at work here.
- Whether you waive him or not, the Wizards still have to pay him all his salary for this year, and his partially guaranteed money for next season. The only benefit to waiving Webster would be to open a roster spot to sign someone to a minimum contract or to have a spot open for an unbalanced trade.
- By keeping him on the roster, the Wizards can apply for a disable player exception to fill his spot on the roster. J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic outlined what that means for the Wizards:
[T]he Wizards will file for a Disabled Player Exception with the NBA which gives them the option of acquiring a 15th player at half of his $5.5 million salary slot. They also can acquire a player via trade but he'd have to be in the final year of his contract.
Keeping Webster and using the DPE (which in this case would be worth $2.85 million, according to CBA FAQ) gives the Wizards far more flexibility to get a replacement than waiving Webster and trying to sign a free agent on the veteran's minimum.
Well, that's not a question, but yeah it does. By all accounts, Martell Webster is an awesome guy who just hasn't been able to avoid the injury bug after his breakout season with the Wizards in 2012-13. The good news is, they'll never take away our memories of what Webster was and how he helped usher in better times for the Wizards as the first true benefactor of the John Wall Effect.