Golden State Warriors: The Kevon Looney Hip Chronicles


The Golden State Warriors announced the evening of Aug. 20, 2015 that rookie forward Kevon Looney underwent a successful right hip arthroscopy to repair a torn labrum Thursday morning. Estimated recovery time for the surgery is set at four-to-six months.

Here’s an excerpt from the official press release (via

"Golden State Warriors forward Kevon Looney underwent a successful right hip arthroscopy this morning to repair a torn labrum, the team announced today. The procedure was performed by renowned Steadman Clinic orthopaedic surgeon and hip specialist Dr. Marc Philippon at the Vail Valley Surgery Center in Vail, Colorado.Looney will begin rehabilitation from the surgery immediately and is expected to be out a minimum of four-to-six months before returning to basketball activity.“Kevon has his entire NBA career ahead of him and we felt that, in consultation with our medical staff, Kevon and his representatives, it was best to address the issue now,” said Warriors General Manager Bob Myers. “He will have our complete support throughout the rehabilitation process and we are confident he will make a full recovery.”"

Some may not be too familiar with Looney, who was drafted out of UCLA with the 30th in the 2015 NBA Draft.

A 6-foot-9-inch combo forward with a reputation for being a tenacious rebounder, Looney was, at one point, considered a five-star college recruit in his draft class. Once compared to Kevin Durant, Looney’s versatile skill set also includes a developing inside game, a growing ability to make outside jump shots and the potential to be a force defensively.

So why did such a highly regarded player find himself at the bottom of the first round? Answer: health concerns.

There were several reports by draft analysts regarding Looney’s physical health. One such report was from Draft Express president, Jonathan Givony, who tweeted this out the day of the draft:

Another report by ESPN claimed that “while his hip injury is fixable, he probably misses the season.” However, that claim was later refuted by Looney’s agent, Todd Ramasar, on CBS Sports, saying that Looney proved by undergoing pre-draft workouts that his hip wouldn’t cause him to miss the entire season. Looney had also reportedly met with a specialist that cleared him prior to the draft.

Looney spoke to Bay Area News Group writer Diamond Leung on the matter, saying that while he would have the issue reevaluated by the Warriors later down the road, it was one issue that he could possibly play through and didn’t require surgery:

"“I had suffered a hip injury when I first got to UCLA, and I played the whole season with it,” Looney said. “I went through the (draft) workouts with it. I still can play now. I can play just fine. I can walk good. I’m not hurting right now.“I’m looking to the doctors to tell me what they really want to do, but this is an injury that I had, and I can actually play with, and I can actually do well with it.”"

Looney was also sure to speak to Warriors beat writer Rusty Simmons in order to squash the injury rumors that had been floating around his head in the days leading to the draft.

"“I actually feel good right now,” Looney said. “I had a hip injury when I first got to UCLA, and I played the whole season. I went through workouts with it. I can still play now….“It was real frustrating, because a lot of things weren’t true. … All of these rumors started after the season. … To come this far and hear that this same hip injury is stopping me or scaring teams away, it was kind of frustrating for me.”"

Warriors general manager Bob Myers, an alumnus of UCLA, had time to comment on the injury rumors following the draft, saying that they had no indication that Looney’s hip issue required surgical repair at the time they drafted him, but were open to the possibility of him needed it later down the road.

"“It’s possible, but not for sure. We’ll look at him, let our doctors make that determination,” Myers said. “Fortunately for us, whatever it is — with our roster, the way it’s constructed — it’d be hard for anybody we draft to get a chance to crack the rotation. So if he needs to take some time to recover from anything that might be there, or not, then he will. And we’re fine with that.But we have no indication that there’s anything that has to happen. We haven’t looked at him ourselves and if we do and there’s something, we’ll deal with it.We have no indication that he needs surgery or has to have any type of procedures done.”"

After the draft, Looney proceeded to participate in the 2015 NBA Summer League tournament despite one report claiming Looney had suffered a hip related issue during practice. He did, however, end up finishing practice and played in six games.

It wasn’t until the official press release on Looney’s surgery was released that ESPN writer Ethan Strauss reported via Twitter that the Warriors knew that Looney needed surgery done and thus decided to undergo the procedure in the offseason as they do not require Looney to play at this moment in time.

Looney, 19, posted averages of 9.3 points and 7.2 rebounds in 19.7 minutes per game for the Warriors during the Las Vegas Summer League. He averaged 11.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.9 blocks per 30.9 minutes in 36 games for UCLA.

Hopefully the young forward is not sidelined for the entire season, as many fans are likely very excited to see what Looney is capable of doing. He was somewhat of a surprise pick, so it’s tough to bear knowing the team won’t be unveiling their shiny new draft pick anytime soon.

Seeing as the Warriors are in the position to play the waiting game with his development, it’s likely Golden State continues to be patient with bringing Looney back, much like they were when Festus Ezeli was in rehab for knee surgery just two seasons ago.

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