It might be another serious injury, but Andrew Bogut still has plenty left in the tank.
It took less than a minute for Andrew Bogut’s Cleveland Cavaliers debut to come to an abrupt end after the Australian centre suffered a fractured left tibia against the Miami Heat.
The 32-year-old’s dream of winning another championship is essentially finished as the injury will more than likely see him waived by the Cavs as they search for a big man to protect the rim.
While Bogut’s timetable for return is yet to be released, the recovery time for a fractured tibia is typically three to four months.
And Bogut is no stranger to the rehabilitation table, having suffered a number of injuries throughout his 13-year NBA career.
But his latest setback doesn’t necessarily spell the end of his career – far from it.
The 7-footer has fortunately carved himself a niche role that is still relatively desirable in the NBA today; the big man who can rebound and block shots while also facilitating the offense.
In 2014, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Bogut was “one of the best passing centers in the league.”
“He’s one of the best I’ve ever seen, and so for us to get him the ball on the elbows as a dribble-handoff guy, backdoor-pass guy, that will be emphasised.”
Bogut has averaged more than 3.2 assists per 100 possessions in each of the last five seasons, peaking at 5.6 in the 2014/15 season.
Unsurprisingly, that was the year the Warriors won their first championship since 1975.
Draymond Green made it no secret that Bogut was the backbone of the Warriors defence before the Aussie signed with Dallas in the offseason.
Talking to ESPN, Green said ”You lose a guy like Bogut who, you almost can funnel stuff to Bogut. You funnel someone to him, you know he’s there and he can kind of erase any mistake that someone makes, and then you lose that, you have to get used to not having that there.
“When you had it there for the last four years, it takes a little while to adjust to that. However, I think we adjusted to it.”
The big man will be 33 at the beginning of the 2017/18 NBA season but there’s no guarantee that he’ll even be fit and ready to play.
While there will be teams with doubts over his durability, Bogut has shown that he can bounce back from injury effectively, having played in at least 65 games in five of his last seven seasons.
During that time, his averages hovered around the 7 points per game along with 8 rebounds.
While it’s unlikely that Bogut will return to a starting position in the league, there are many teams who could still utilise his services as a back-up.
Before signing with the Cavs, the Houston Rockets were interested while whispers of a return to Golden State plagued the rumour mill before Steve Kerr ultimately shut it down.
There are clear similarities between the Aussie and New York Knicks centre Joakim Noah, who at 31 is still averaging 22 minutes per night.
And if the Knicks are willing to take a risk on Noah, why wouldn’t the rest of the league take the same chance with Bogut?
After returning from injury, there’s no doubt that Bogut could still be a consistent contributor in the league – it’s just a question of which team would be willing to take that risk.