As soon as he landed awkwardly, his right knee twisting to support his weight after he dunked during a team workout Friday, Heat guard Josh Richardson knew his run of luck in avoiding knee injuries had come to an end.
“When I hit the ground it was like my knee was on fire,” Richardson said Saturday after he was diagnosed by doctors with a partially torn MCL, an injury that will keep him out for the next six to eight weeks.
“I was like, ‘I’m not getting up for a minute.’ So, I just kind of laid there for a minute. My teammates picked me up and carried me off to the training room. I just tried not to think the worst.”
Luckily for the Heat and second-year sensation, it really wasn’t the worst.
Though Richardson expects to be on crutches for the next few weeks and out for most if not all of the preseason, there’s a chance he could be back in time for the start of the Heat’s regular season on Oct. 26 at Orlando. And if not, Richardson said he doesn’t expect to be out much longer after that. He said surgery would not be needed.
After the loss of 12-time All-Star Dwyane Wade to the Bulls in free agency, the Heat has a vacancy at shooting guard and plethora of new veteran guards in camp trying to fill his void.
Richardson, the 40th overall pick in the NBA Draft last season, is expected to play a key role in the rotation, if not start. He emerged after the All-Star break last season, leading the league in three-point shooting (53.3 percent) while averaging 10.2 points over the final 29 regular-season games. His defense and length at 6-6 present problems for opponents.
Until Friday, he said he had never sustained any sort of knee injury in his career. He said he had a rough time dealing with the disappointment of the injury on Friday, but is grateful the injury isn’t worse.
“It sucks — sucks bad,” Richardson said. “A guy like myself I like to play, compete, especially with guys I’m going to be out there killing myself on the court for. Nobody really exactly looks forward to how hard training camp is going to be. But we all want to compete. I just wish I could be out there with them. But I’m going to get back.”