Now it can be told.
The ankle injury doomed Luca Vildoza’s chances even before he could start his NBA journey with the New York Knicks.
Vildoza revealed Tuesday that he underwent surgery to extract fluid from the back of his right foot. The Knicks waived him last Sunday.
The 26-year old Argentinian guard said he sustained the injury before the Tokyo Olympics. That explains his poor showing after an impressive outing in the FIBA World Cup two years ago, which led to Kobe Bryant calling the Los Angeles Lakers to take a look at him and his other teammate Gabriel Deck, who is now with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
At the Summer Games this year, Vildoza failed to help Argentina get past the quarterfinal round. A week later, he played meaningless minutes with the Knicks in the NBA Summer League before being held out due to his ankle injury.
Vildoza may have aggravated the injury as he pressed on playing. Those months leading to Tokyo games and during the tournament proper were difficult, according to him.
“I always tried to keep going, but at one point I couldn’t take it anymore,” Vildoza said.Â “The pain was very intense and constant. That is why I made this determination with my family and my girlfriend looking for the best for my health and my future.”
Vildoza reported to the training camp in a walking boot. The Knicks could have until after the opening night to arrive at a decision. But they couldn’t wait any longer. They decided what was best for the team and Vildoza’s health.
â€œYou gotta make roster decisions this time of the year, and so availability is a big part of it,â€™â€™ Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said Sunday. â€œAnd we feel that the guys who are here, those are the guys that are fighting it out for that last spot. But heâ€™s a good player and we wish him well.
Vildoza signed with the Knicks last May, but only the first year of the four-year, $13.6 million deal was guaranteed. He collected at least $1.5 million after the $2-million buyout of his contract with Baskonia in the top Spanish League was deducted.
“I thank the people in the Knicks organization. They were amazing to me and also to those who genuinely cared about my health. This NBA outing is just “a see-you-later” for me. I will do my best to return,” Vildoza said. “It is my dream, and I will pursue it while I can.”
There was no timetable provided for his recovery. Vildoza is now a free agent and can sign with any NBA team after returning from the injury.
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