Damian Jones is a player on the bubble of being drafted in the first round Thursday — he is expected to go late first or early second (we have him going 23rd to Charlotte in our mock draft). That’s a huge distinction — first-round players get guaranteed contracts (they get paid for at least two seasons), second rounders have zero guarantees.
This is not going to help his cause.
Jones has had surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle, reports Jonathan Givony of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
Jones… suffered the chest injury June 11 while bench-pressing 185 pounds during a workout with the Orlando Magic, league sources said. He is expected to make a full recovery by the start of the NBA season.
Jones is home recovering in Baton Rouge, La. He will not compete in the NBA Summer League, but could be ready to return late in training camp.
Jones may still go in the first round to a team willing to be patient.
Jones certainly passes the eye test of being an NBA center — 7-feet tall, long wingspan, 244 pounds, and he showed off a 36-inch vertical at the combine. He shows potential as a scorer with his back to the basket on the block, but the real hope is he can develop into a rim-protecting force inside. Jones, once healthy, has a lot of potential for a team willing to be patient in developing him.