There was a non-surgical option, but we evaluated that and it didn’t seem like the right choice for me at this time of my career. —Dante Exum
SALT LAKE CITY — A day after it was revealed that Dante Exum would undergo surgery next week to repair his injured shoulder, the 22-year-old Australian spoke to the media about the injury along with Utah Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey.
Exum was injured in an Oct. 5 preseason game against Phoenix when T.J. Warren fell on him after Exum went up for a shot on the baseline. After much consultation, Exum has opted to have surgery on Tuesday in Los Angeles to repair the AC joint in his right shoulder.
Exum said he saw three doctors and talked to “six or seven” more over the past week as he made a decision with input from his family, agent and the Jazz organization.
“I’m confident with the decision I made,” he said. “That’s why we took a lot of time to make the right decision for me, not just this year but long term. There was a non-surgical option, but we evaluated that and it didn’t seem like the right choice for me at this time of my career.”
Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey also talked about Exum and his injury and what it means to the team.
“On a personal level, I just hurt for the kid because he’s put so much into it,” Lindsey said. “We may bend in a different direction because we’re going to miss his talents, but we’re confident in the group we put together and we’re anxious to compete to find our level.”
Neither Exum nor Lindsey would speculate about a timeline for his return, although they hinted it could be for most of the season.
“Right now, were not looking at that, just focusing the rehab and see where that takes us,” Exum said. “I’m not really putting a timeline on it at the moment.
Lindsey said the Jazz were “not trying to obscure anything” about when Exum would be able to return.
“There’s no way to predict it,” said Lindsey. “I’m assuming there will be a point where we speed it up, stay with timeline or slow it down. That will depend on the surgery outcome, how quick it starts to heal and the clinical symptoms.”
Lindsey emphasized that his “bend” comment referred to the present Jazz roster and said he wasn’t contemplating bringing in another point guard. He said the Jazz had experienced point guard Raul Neto and several wing players who can play out front.
Lindsey also said that the Jazz aren’t worried about Exum's contract situation and what they’ll do at the end of the season when he can be restricted free agent.
“We’re more concerned about his physical and psychological well-being given the circumstances of two injuries,” Lindsey said. “It would be insensitive of me to say what this means for the Jazz and his next contract. We’ll get to that.”
Exum said he knew right away that it was a serious injury when Warren fell on him. ”I knew straightaway, and that’s why I just ran to the locker room.”
He also said he has no hard feeling toward Warren and that the Phoenix forward reached out to him with a message wishing him the best.
“You’re just playing basketball. He’s just trying to make a play to try and win, and you can’t fault him for that,” he said.