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Deni Avdija is inching closer to a return to the floor.
The second-year pro is on track “as of now” to make his preseason debut Saturday night against the Knicks, according to head coach Wes Unseld Jr. The first-round pick hasn't played since he suffered a fracture in his right ankle last season. Avdija played in five-on-five scrimmages for the first time this week as he looks to get himself back into game shape.
“It was good to see him get through the whole practice, every single live segment. It’s a good sign and I think it was good for him, just kind of test it a little bit and see where it was. Obviously his conditioning is not where it needs to be but that’s to be expected,” Unseld said.
Avdija hurt his ankle in April and missed the remainder of the season and spent the entirety of the summer rehabbing his injury. He also missed the team’s first preseason game against the Rockets.
The ninth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Avdija played in 54 games last season and averaged 6.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. He also made 32 starts.
Washington is hopeful that his conditioning and rhythm with his teammates will be at an acceptable level by Saturday to get him back onto the floor and get him in game action once again.
“He showed some flashes, and that’s what we’ve been looking for, that’s what we’ve been waiting to see,” Unseld said. “I’m excited to get him in the mix, get him up to speed, and we’ll see how he looks on Saturday.”