Update: Domantas Sabonis did not have surgery to repair thumb

Jul 12, 2023, 8:57 AM | Updated: 1:05 pm

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 23: Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Kings grimaces as he h...

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Story update

Multiple media outlets, including KCRA’s Michelle Dapper and The Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson, have confirmed that Sacramento Kings center Domantas Sabonis did not have surgery on his thumb.

Lithuanian national team head coach Kazys Maksvytis made the claim about the center’s surgery earlier this week.

Original story

Some eyebrows were raised on Wednesday morning when the Lithuanian national basketball team released its roster for next month’s FIBA World Cup.

One notable player was missing from the list of names: All-NBA Sacramento Kings center Domantas Sabonis.

According to Lithuanian national team head coach Kazys Maksvytis, Sabonis underwent surgery to repair his right thumb after playing through most of the 2022-23 NBA season with an avulsion fracture of the ulnar collateral ligament.

“The main reasons behind Domantas’ availability this summer was his contract and health,” Maksvytis said in a press conference on Wednesday morning.

“He tried to recover without the surgery, but it didn’t work, and he lost time. After the surgery, everything takes longer. He apologized for not coming and promised to be available next summer.”

During his post-NBA Draft press conference on June 22nd, Kings general manager Monte McNair told the media that he was unsure of Sabonis’ plan to have the thumb repaired surgically or through rest and rehab.

While McNair didn’t specify if Sabonis would have surgery or not, he did state that he expects the big man to be ready for training camp when the team arrives in late September.

One aspect of Sabonis’ decision to have surgery could be that the center just inked a five-year, $217 million extension that will run through the 2027-28 season.

Now that Sacramento has committed to Sabonis long-term, the three-time All-Star appears to be prioritizing his health instead of participating in this summer’s FIBA action.

Sabonis had one of the best seasons from a center in the league’s lengthy history, averaging 19.1 points, 12.3 rebounds (led the NBA), and 7.3 assists (career-high) while shooting 61 percent from the field.

YouTube video

Only one other player in NBA history has averaged 19-12-7 while shooting 60 percent or higher from the field: Wilt Chamberlain.

The star center led the league in rebounds per game, total rebounds, and double-doubles (65) while also ranking top-five in win shares (12.6, second), offensive win shares (9.6, second), and assists (573, fifth).

Only two-time MVP Nikola Jokic (29) had more triple-doubles than Sabonis this season, as the Kings center finished the year with 14.

Now that Sabonis has had his thumb repaired, one can only wonder:

If that’s what Domantas Sabonis was capable with a broken thumb, what will the big man do in 2023-24 with a fully-healthy hand?

Sacramento Kings Offseason Schedule

  • Friday, July 7 –Monday, July 17– NBA Summer League in Las Vegas
  • August TBD – 2023-24 NBA regular season schedule release
  • September TBD – Sacramento Kings training camp begins
  • October TBD – Sacramento Kings preseason begins
  • October TBD – NBA regular season begins

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Update: Domantas Sabonis did not have surgery to repair thumb