Corey Kispert will be out for 4-6 weeks due to an ankle sprain, the Wizards announced on Wednesday. Kispert was injured during Washington’s second preseason game against the Warriors in Japan. Coach Wes Unseld Jr. said that Kispert went through a number of tests including an MRI to ensure that it was only a sprain.
The injury happened on this layup attempt by Kispert late in the first quarter. The camera angle doesn’t allow us to fully see his body at takeoff or landing. But it looked like he pulled up lame on the jump. He pointed to the sideline for a sub almost immediately before limping off the floor. Unseld Jr. said that the ankle started swelling up just a few minutes later.
Here's the play where Corey Kispert got injured pic.twitter.com/iAmT3RJlDV— Gabe Ibrahim (@gabe_ibrahim) October 5, 2022
“It’s unfortunate when you have a brother hurt,” said Kyle Kuzma after practice on Wednesday. “It really sucks for him because he was having a pretty good training camp and was really taking the next step.”
Losing Kispert is a big blow for Washington. He played in 77 games last season, starting 36 of them. The 15th overall pick in the 2021 Draft came into his own when injuries pushed him into the starting role. He averaged 11.6 points per game on 63.6% true shooting after the All-Star Break. He made an impressive 38.6% of his threes over that span as well. He also finished third on the team in three point percentage for the season behind Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Rui Hachimura (minimum 100 three point attempts).
Kispert and the Wizards came into training camp excited about his growth potential. But the excitement will now be paused for at least a month. He was likely slated to be Washington’s tenth man off the bench with the ability to step in for Bradley Beal or Will Barton.
As alluded to above, the Wizards will greatly miss Kispert’s shooting. He finished third on the team for points off catch-and-shoot opportunities with the departed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in first. The team figured that 9 of their 10-11 rotation players would be plausible shooters, which would improve spacing greatly. Kispert’s injury throws a wrench in that plan. Luckily, the Wizards picked up three plus-shooters in the offseason and can still usually trot out lineups with good shooters all over the court. Still, there is a hole to fill.
“Deni [Avdija] is working his way back. There’s minutes for Johnny [Davis] and Will [Barton].” said Unseld Jr. “We have bodies to fill that spot.”
Davis certainly seems the most in-line for a bump in minutes. The rookie has had an inauspicious start to his career. But he’ll need to grow up quickly to soak up some of Kispert’s minutes. Unseld Jr. did say that nothing was going to change in Davis’s development plan and he would get individual reps and/or tape sessions to get him up to speed. It appears that this injury put a hard stop on any notion that Davis would start the season in the G-League with the Capital City Go-Go.
Johnny Davis is working on the basics of his shot. His opportunity to play just got bigger with Kispert’s injury pic.twitter.com/mwNnPlQAUL— Gabe Ibrahim (@gabe_ibrahim) October 5, 2022
Beyond Davis, Barton and Delon Wright will likely gain some minutes from Kispert’s injury. This injury is a big bummer for folks who wanted to see what the Wizards had in Kispert. But it does not necessarily mean the Wizards will struggle early on because of the moves the team made in the offseason. Now, it’s up to those guys to perform. Get well soon, Corey!