Washington Wizards guard Corey Kispert, who missed the first eight games of the season with a left ankle sprain, returned for the Wizards last night against the Brooklyn Nets. In 18 minutes, he scored just two points and did not make a field goal.
Corey Kispert makes his return tonight for the Wizards. I asked him how he’s going to try and make a statement tonight against the Brooklyn Nets: pic.twitter.com/XnpqC8O6Rh— Marco Gacina (@MarcoGacina) November 4, 2022
“It’s been a long time coming, but I can’t wait for my first NBA game of the season,” Kispert said beforehand. “I feel fantastic. The stuff that we’ve done over the last month for rehab has been amazing.”
Corey Kispert “couldn’t be more excited” to play his first game of the season tonight. The Wizards certainly couldn’t be more excited either pic.twitter.com/DELlNFayX5— Marco Gacina (@MarcoGacina) November 4, 2022
Kispert is happy to be back, but he hated missing team activities the last few weeks. “It’s the worst,” he said. “I want nothing more than to compete and to hang out and to enjoy these guys. Whether you like it or not, when you’re hurt you kind of get removed a little bit.”
After traveling with the Wizards on their latest road trip, Kispert feels more involved with the team. “It’s weird watching games on the TV, and I didn’t like it,” he said. “Being able to travel with the guys was the first step to feeling normal.”
Luckily, his recovery went as well as it possibly could have, and Kispert is “as close to 100% as I could ask for.” He added, “There might be a little less range of motion in there, a little stickiness, but if it’s strong and it’s healthy, then I have the utmost confidence that it’ll hold up well.”
Kispert knows that returning to full form after missing a month will not be as easy as flipping a switch. “I don’t think I’ll be back to 100% minutes,” he said. “I’m sure there will be a minutes restriction, and as far as what that is, we’ll have some conversations later today and get a clearer idea about it.”
Last night’s performance was not indicative of Kispert’s season to come. The second-year three-point specialist will provide some much-needed floor spacing to a Wizards team shooting just 34.1% from three-point range. He will also be a welcome remedy for the Wizards’ rotational identity crisis: “Thankfully I have the kind of game and the understanding of what we want to do that allows me to plug and play, no matter which lineup we have out there,” Kispert said.