Charlotte Hornets: PJ Washington fully healthy, “cleared to do everything”

Charlotte Hornets PJ Washington (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets PJ Washington (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /

From his mouth to Charlotte Hornets fans ears — PJ Washington says that he is cleared to play from his foot injury and will be ready for training camp next month.

After not playing in Summer League due to foot soreness stemming from his sophomore season at Kentucky, PJ Washington is fully recovered and is ready to make an impact for the Charlotte Hornets as a rookie. He’s been cleared by team doctors and will be a full-go for training camp next month.

The 6’7″ forward, who recently celebrated his 21st birthday on the 23rd, announced the news during a Charlotte Knights baseball game on the 26th. Washington also got to throw the first pitch of the game.

Washington, the 12th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, probably could have played in Summer League, but the Hornets took the cautious approach with their lottery pick, and you certainly can’t blame them for that. The chance of him aggravating the injury was just too much of a risk.

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Foot injuries, especially for bigger players, are pretty scary. Sitting him out was the right thing to do.

With training camp right around the corner, it will be important for Washington to make an impression on the coaching staff if he wants to earn minutes right out of the gate. He’s playing behind Miles Bridges and Marvin Williams right now, so playing time may be tough to come by in the immediate future.

He is expected to spend some time in the G-League during the season, which will be good for him. Easing him into NBA action is a more realistic route, rather than throwing him under the fire right away.

When the Hornets drafted Washington 12th overall back in June, many fans were surprised and confused by the selection. He didn’t have a pre-draft workout for the team, and his potential isn’t quite as high as some other prospects that were on the board.

Those two things may be true, but there’s nothing wrong with the Hornets going with a safer option. Washington has the skill set to become a good professional. He can stretch the floor, rebound, handle the ball and play both the power forward and center positions.

In his first two drafts with the organization, Mitch Kupchak has done a tremendous job, in my opinion. In 2018, he walked away with Miles Bridges and Devonte’ Graham, two players who have a bright future with the team. In 2019, he ends up with Washington, Cody Martin and Jalen McDaniels.

Now that the Charlotte Hornets are in rebuild mode, drafting will be even more important. It’s going to be a rough few years, but the Hornets already have some talented pieces in place, and one of those pieces is Washington. He could be a vital piece to this team down the line.

I’m not expecting a ton from Washington as a rookie, but I do think that he will grow tremendously as a rookie. If he’s a better player at the end of the season compared to the beginning of the season, then he’s done his job. Right now, player development is key.

You can take a look at my complete expectations for Washington here. It’s a more in-depth view as to what he can bring to the table as a rookie.

3 players entering make-or-break season in 2019-20. dark. Next

It’s good to see PJ Washington completely healthy and with no restrictions. His first game action will come against Kemba Walker and the Boston Celtics on October 6th during preseason. I’m excited to see him back on the court, and am very eager to see how he adjusts to the NBA game.