Rui Hachimura's 2020-21 regular season debut is imminent, according to Wizards head coach Scott Brooks who said the second-year forward took a significant step in his road back from conjunctivitis on Tuesday. Hachimura began scrimmaging at the Wizards practice facility.
"We’ve had some good work in. He played a little bit of 3-on-3 this morning against a couple of guys that haven’t played and some of our coaches," Brooks said. "He’s been looking really good. It’s getting close. I don’t know exactly which game, but it’s getting close."
Brooks said Hachimura will play some 5-on-5 on Wednesday and then go from there. The team's next game will be on Thursday at home against the Bulls. They then go to Minnesota to see the Timberwolves on Friday in the second game of a back-to-back.
Hachimura, 22, has been dealing with conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, since the preseason. The Wizards announced on Dec. 21 he would miss upwards of three weeks with his eye problem, which has included irritation and affects his vision. If he returns soon, that would be well ahead of schedule.
With Hachimura out, the Wizards have started Isaac Bonga in his place. Bonga has played well, but Hachimura will be a boost for Washington, which has started out a disappointing 0-3.
Hachimura made All-Rookie last season, the first Wizards player to earn that honor since Bradley Beal in 2013. Soon, he will be able to build on that in his sophomore campaign.
"Every day it’s getting better. It’s always the next day, see how he feels, but he’s feeling great. It’s getting close," Brooks said.