By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, June 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korean basketball player Lee Hyun-jung will likely miss months of action due to a foot injury sustained while preparing for the National Basketball Association (NBA) draft, his management firm said Thursday.
A2G said Lee, who's trying to become just the second South Korean player in the NBA, sustained injuries to the top of his left foot and ligament in that area during a workout with an NBA team last week.
The initial diagnosis has Lee out for "multiple months" with treatment and rehab, though the player is still awaiting the final word on his condition after taking an MRI.
A2G had first said last Friday that Lee had suffered a foot injury without elaborating on its extent. Lee is now being looked at by Dr. Richard Ferkel, who has worked on NBA star Stephen Curry and other pro athletes.
In the meantime, Lee has canceled a plan to travel to Brooklyn for the draft, A2G said.
After finishing his junior season with Davidson College Wildcats in April, Lee declared for the NBA draft, which is scheduled for Thursday evening in Brooklyn, or Friday morning in Seoul. The 6-foot-7 wing averaged a career-high 15.8 points and six rebounds per game in the 2021-22 season, en route to making the Atlantic 10 All-Conference First Team.
As a sophomore, Lee became the first Wildcat to put up the coveted 50-40-90 shooting numbers: 50.8 percent from the field, 44.2 percent from the three-point range and 90 percent from the free throw line.
Pundits see him as a fringe second-round candidate who will most likely sign a two-way contract, a deal often awarded to undrafted players. Salaries for these players depend on whether they play in the NBA or in the second-tier G League.
Lee's mother, Seong Jeong-a, helped South Korea win the silver medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. His father, Lee Yun-hwan, played semi-pro hoops in the 1980s and has been a prominent high school coach since retiring in 1991.
The only South Korean to have played in the NBA so far is former Portland Trail Blazers center Ha Seung-jin. The 7-foot-3 center was selected 46th overall by the Blazers in the 2004 draft and appeared in 46 games across two seasons. Ha averaged 1.5 points and 1.5 rebounds per game in the NBA.