Gregg Popovich let it slip out following the Spurs 132-114 victory over the Magic last night, and now it has been confirmed: Charles Bassey will likely miss the remainder of the season with a non-displaced fracture to his left patella (a.k.a. the kneecap).
Bassey likely done for the season after Spurs confirm initial diagnosis of a non-displaced fracture to his left patella.— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) March 15, 2023
He suffered the injury after landing awkwardly from blocking a shot at the end of the first quarter. He stayed on the floor for a minute before being helped up and seemed to be walking fine before the broadcast cut to commercial. He played a few more minutes to start the second quarter but did not return after that. Pop said following the game he believed Bassey had cracked his patella (before adding that it had not been confirmed), and added, “Poor kid, he was just learning how to play,” before quickly leaving.
The injury will likely need about six weeks to heal, and there’s only a little over three weeks left in the regular season, so the odds of him returning are slim to none. (Not that anyone doesn’t already know this, but the Spurs are mathematically eliminated from the postseason.) The good news for Bassey is he should not need surgery, and even better, he just signed a four-year contract with the Spurs, so he’s not at risk of losing out on a chance to prove himself across the final 14 games of the season.
A native of Lagos, Nigeria, Bassey attended high school at San Antonio’s St. Anthony Catholic High school his freshman and sophomore years before moving to Kentucky. He was drafted 53rd overall by 76ers in 2021 before being waived in 2022. He then signed as a two-way player with the Spurs early this season before signing his new contract ahead of the All-Star break. He has averaged 5.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and a block per game in the NBA season.
He had taken over backup center duties behind Zach Collins after Jakob Poeltl was traded. With Bassey now out, expect to see more of Sandro Mamukelashvili, Dominick Barlow and possibly Gorgui Dieng (especially tonight with Collins out on injury managment). The Spurs could theoretically file for an injured player exemption and sign another center off the waivers, or they could waive someone themselves (with Dieng being the most likely candidate) to open another roster spot, but at this point, with only 14 games left, they will probably just ride the rest of season out while playing more small ball.