Jeffers: I Solidified Myself as a Player
Othyus Jeffers couldn’t have asked for a much better start to the offseason, when the Wizards picked up his $1.06 million qualifying offer in late June to make him a restricted free agent whenever the next collective bargaining agreement was ratified. The significance of having an NBA team declare first right of refusal wasn’t lost on Jeffers, who had to scrap and claw his way up from the NBA Development League.
“My time finally came. That’s how I felt,” Jeffers, 26, said. “My mind-set wasn’t, ‘Whew, I finally made it, and just sit back and feel good.’ Nah. I wanted more. I wanted to be there as the season started as a Wizard and finish the season as an NBA player. I was pretty much tired and fed up with hearing, ‘Well, you belong there, but you have to wait your turn.’ I felt that solidified me as a player and I was ready to go to work to make sure I wouldn’t be up and down again.”
But only a few weeks later, Jeffers was back in a precarious position. First, NBA owners decided to lock out players, placing free agency on hold. Then, while working out in Chicago last July, Jeffers was maneuvering through cones and making cuts to the rim when he landed awkwardly and collapsed. He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee – an injury that usually requires a six-to-eight month rehabilitation.