Warriors sixth man Brandon Rush will miss the rest of the season after tearing the ACL in his left knee Friday night, according to his agent Mark Bartelstein. Read more after the jump.
An MRI on Saturday revealed the extent of what was clearly a gruesome injury from the night before. Rush was attempting a transition dunk with 4:09 remaining in the first quarter when he was nailed from behind by Memphis’ Zach Randolph. Rush was in agony and couldn’t put weight on the leg as he was helped into the locker room.
“It’s devastating, but we’ll put a plan together with the Warriors’ medical team, and we’ll get him back to 100 percent,” Bartelstein said. Most athletes miss between nine and 12 months after ACL surgery. “He’s crushed, as you would expect, but he’s a hard worker, and we’re going to get this right.”
Rush had a career season for the Warriors in 2011-12, and re-upped for $8 million over two years — with a player option for the 2013-14 season. His reserve role is integral to the Warriors, who use him to defend opponents’ best perimeter players.
It will be interesting to see if the Warriors apply with the league for a disabled-player exception or if they try to fill the void left by Rush with Richard Jefferson and Draymond Green. If the exception is granted, the Warriors could sign or trade for a player who earns up to half of Rush’s $4 million salary.
There are some defense-first small forwards still awaiting jobs on the free-agent market. Among those: Josh Howard’s agent was in contact with the Warriors this summer, a Mickael Pietrus return makes some sense, and former players’ union VP Maurice Evans would be a good locker-room and on-court addition.