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BASKETBALL | Rui Hachimura Sidelined with Pink Eye as NBA Season Opens

Ed Odeven

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Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura is expected to miss the first three weeks of the NBA season due to bi-lateral epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC), which is also known as pink eye.

The Wizards made the announcement on Monday, December 21.

Washington opens its season on Wednesday, December 23 against the host Philadelphia 76ers, who are now guided by new head coach Doc Rivers.

Hachimura, who made his NBA debut in 2019, is dealing with vision problems due to the eye infection.

Wizards coach Scott Brooks described it as a “severe case of pink eye,” according to published reports.

Hachimura, the No. 9 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, averaged 13.5 points and 6.1 rebounds in 48 games as a rookie.

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In Washington’s first preseason game, the Toyama native had 18 points and four rebounds against the Brooklyn Nets on December 14.

Two days later, he was diagnosed with having EKC. 

As a result, Hachimura missed the Wizards’ final two preseason games.

“I was hoping last week, thinking that it would clear up in two or three days, he could be back on the court, a couple more days later he’d be back. But he has a severe case,” Brooks was quoted as saying by The Washington Post

“It’s a long season. I know sometimes when you’re in the grind it doesn’t seem every game is so important and so critical, but he’s a young player, and he needed those reps and practice and training camp, those exhibition games. We’re going to have to figure it out without him until he comes back.”


Author: Ed Odeven

Follow Ed on JAPAN Forward’s [Japan Sports Notebook] here on Sundays,  in [Odds and Evens] here during the week, and Twitter @itsjapanforward.

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Ed Odeven is a longtime sports journalist who previously worked for The Japan Times as its chief basketball reporter for nearly 14 years. He also covered a wide range of other sports for the newspaper, including at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Games. A graduate of Arizona State University, Odeven worked for several newspapers in the Grand Canyon State before moving to Japan. He has freelanced for dozens of media outlets around the world.