Alex Len underwent surgery to stabilize a partial stress fracture in his left ankle, the agent for the former Maryland basketball star announced on Friday. The 7-foot-1 center will be sidelined 4-6 months, meaning he will miss all pre-draft activities leading up to the June 27 draft.
After declaring for the NBA Draft last month, the 7-foot-1 center and projected lottery pick was diagnosed with the partial stress fracture. The surgery was performed by Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“This was a preventative measure to stabilize a partial stress fracture of the ankle,” said Dr. Anderson in a statement released by Len's agent Michael Lelchitski with Sports International Group. "Although it is possible that this injury could have healed on its own, surgery was felt to be the safest and surest option to ensuring a long and successful NBA career for Alex. His prognosis is excellent, and I anticipate he’ll make a full return to basketball within the next few months.”
As a sophomore, Len averaged 11.9 points, a team-high 7.8 rebounds and led the ACC with 78 blocks. The Ukrainian big man announced he was entering the NBA Draft on April 16.
"I decided that surgery was the best long term option for my career," Len said. "I didn't want to risk it not healing properly. I want to make sure I'm fully healthy and ready for training camp."
Six months for recovery would have Len back in early October. The Wizards opener this past season was on October 30.
Len jumped into the high-end NBA Draft discussion after a dominating performance against Kentucky's freshman center Nerlens Noel in Maryland's season opener. Noel also declared for the draft despite suffering a season-ending knee injury later in the campaign. He is the projected No. 1 overall selection, although one college basketball analyst prefers Len of the two.
Early draft projections put Len in the mix for the Wizards. Washington would pick eighth overall if there were no changes in the current order. The lottery takes place on May 21.
"The tough part about Alex's injury is the timing," Lelchitski said. "Everyone who knows Alex knows that he would have been incredible in the pre-draft workout setting. However, Alex is one of the elite prospects with arguably the biggest upside of anyone in the draft. The most important thing is his long-term health.”