Washington Wizards backup guard Sheldon Mac tore his left Achilles’ tendon and will likely miss the entire season, the team announced Monday.
The second-year guard, who made the team last season as an undrafted rookie from the University of Miami, suffered the injury during the second quarter of Sunday’s preseason win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said Monday after practice that Mac, who didn’t figure to be a prominent part of the Wizards rotation this year, is scheduled to have surgery Tuesday.
“It’s a tough situation for Sheldon and us,” he said. “It does affect [the rotation] a little bit. We still have to evaluate the roster. We still have guys fighting a spot. We have to make that decision soon.”
Brooks said one of the toughest parts of being a coach is cutting players just before the regular season begins.
“It’s never easy,” he said. “We still have to evaluate and move forward. That’s the cold facts about being injured in this league. You feel bad for [Mac] and give him great care … but we still have to focus on our team.”
Mac declined to speak with reporters after practice Monday.
From the business side, ESPN Front Office Insider reporter Bobby Marks tweeted the Wizards would owe Mac about $1.3 million this season because of his partially guaranteed contract. Marks, a former NBA front office executive, also tweeted that waiving Mac could cost Washington an additional $2.5 million in luxury taxes.
With the team on the hook for Mac’s salary, Washington announced Monday it had waived Daniel Ochefu, a second-year center who played 19 games for the Wizards last season as a undrafted rookie.
One player who understands Mac’s injury is Wizards backup point guard Tim Frazier, who himself suffered a left Achilles injury nearly five years ago while an All-Big Ten player at Penn State.
Frazier, who the team acquired in June from the New Orleans Pelicans for a second-round draft pick, said he shed a tear because he understands the mental process and rehabilitation to get physically stronger and “learn how to walk all over again.”
“He’s tough,” Frazier said of Mac. “As long as he has God on his side which he does, he will be fine. He’ll be able to bounce back. He’s going to work his tail off to get back.”
Frazier, who practiced Monday for the first time in nearly two weeks after suffering a minor groin injury, expects to play Wednesday when the Wizards face the Miami Heat in Florida.