Tony Wroten Jr. will not play basketball for Garfield this season, as he had previously hoped.
Tony Wroten Sr., his father, confirmed this morning that while the “hop test” Tony Jr. had Thursday to test the strength of his surgically repaired knee “went great,” the doctor and the Wroten family decided Tony needs at least another month before returning to game action.
“The knee’s fine, we’re just making a decision as a family that it’s just not time,” Wroten Sr. said. “He just needs more time to get a little stronger. We’ll evaluate it in another month and go from there.
“It’s just tough that it’s a month. If it was December, and you you’re talking about evaluating in another month, he could still play. If you’re talking about a month now, that means obviously he won’t play any high-school basketball this year and that’s what he wanted to be able to do. But he’s got a lot of basketball ahead of him. For the family and the doctor, it just wasn’t the right time.”
Wroten Jr., a 6-foot-5 junior regarded as one of the top recruits in the class of 2011, tore his ACL during Garfield’s opening football game last fall and had surgery in late September. But his rehabilitation has gone exceptionally well and he has had limited workouts with the basketball team for the past month and a half while also training with the legendary Joyce Walker, who also happens to be his aunt.
In a Jan. 28 interview with The Seattle Times, Wroten Jr. said he believed he could be cleared to play for tonght’s KingCo 4A tournament game – which is against Lake Washington – if he did well in the “hop test,” a series of jumping, balance and strength tests. But even at that time Wroten Sr. said it was the enthusiasm of a 16-year-old talking and that he considered the possibility unlikely.
Garfield (17-4), ranked No. 10 in Class 4A, has had a remarkable season without Wroten Jr., who continues to support his team on the bench.
Wroten Sr. stressed that his son’s surgically repaired knee is fine, but that the doctor and family want to be cautious at this early stage of recovery.
“His surgical knee tests better than the other knee,” he said. “That’s fine. It’s not a matter of that. I just don’t want him going out there too soon in the excitement of a game right now.”
That was the doctor’s recommendation, too, Wroten Sr. said – much to his son’s disappointment.
“It wasn’t what my son wanted to hear,” Wroten Sr. said. “He wanted the doctor to say, ‘Go for it.'”
Wroten Jr. will be able to play for the U.S.A. team this summer, his father said.
“He’s still got a lot to look forward to,” Wroten Sr. said.