Five months had passed without the nature of Chandler Parsons' May 1 surgery being revealed. On Sunday, ESPN Dallas' Tim MacMahon reported that the surgery Parsons underwent was a "minor hybrid" microfracture operation and that Parsons is still optimistic that he will start the season.
Parsons suffered the cartilage damage in a regular season loss to the Houston Rockets on April 2. He missed the following six games before returning for the series opener against the Rockets in the first round. Visibly hobbled throughout, Parsons played 37 minutes but could only manage 10 points on 5-of-15 shooting.
Before Game 2, it was announced that Parsons would miss the rest of the series, with surgery becoming a likely option and shortly after the Mavericks were eliminated, team physician T.O. Souryal performed the operation. The location of the cartilage damage was in a non-weight-bearing area of the knee -- the "best possible spot," a source told MacMahon. Because of that, traditional microfracture surgery was not required.
The news has ramifications for both Parsons and the Mavericks, though. Here's how.
Why are we just learning this?
In the world of NBA news, five months is an eternity for a secret to be held. The fact that Parsons had a surgery wasn't kept under wraps -- he shared a post-surgery Instagram picture -- but the specifics were. In a press release, the Mavericks called it an "arthroscopic surgery to address a cartilage injury in his right knee."
The unclear nature of what Parsons had gone through led to plenty of speculation. Some said that an arthroscopic surgery suggested another surgery was imminent or had occurred without it being acknowledged by the team. Others assumed that the surgery really was the full microfracture surgery, which would push Parsons' recovery into 2016. With Parsons in crutches afterwards, it was easy to fear the worst.
Dallas may have been concerned that the words "microfracture surgery" and "Chandler Parsons" next to each other in a press release could spook potential free agents, even if the release said it was minor. This summer, the Mavericks aggressively pursued DeAndre Jordan, who verbally committed before reneging, and LaMarcus Aldridge, among other high-profile targets.
Why is this so important for the Mavericks?
Although he started slowly, Parsons finished the year exactly how they had hoped before the injuries ended his season early. After the All-Star break, he averaged 16 points, 49 percent shooting, 40 percent shooting on three-pointers, 5.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists -- all increases from his pre-break numbers.
Even more important than the statistics was the way Parsons played. He went through two adjustment phases, one to start the year and another after Rajon Rondo was traded. But as the season progressed, the Mavericks began to realize Parsons' value as a playmaker, particularly in the pick-and-roll. One of his best game happened one game before his knee injury: on April 1, he scored 10 consecutive points in the fourth quarter to help beat the Thunder. At his best, this is how Parsons can play, attacking defenses relentlessly with his 6'9 frame and creating chances for teammates, too.
This season, Dallas is counting on Parsons breaking out, and Parsons himself said he is ready for a bigger role. The surgery complicates that, especially if Parsons does miss the start of the season. Still, it's a relief for Maverick fans who feared it could be worse.
It's also important that Parsons miss as little time as he can because the Mavericks' other major free agent signing last summer, Wesley Matthews, is also recovering from injury. Matthews suffered an Achilles tear in March and has been on the mend ever since. Although Matthews told SB Nation's Mavs Moneyball that he plans to start the season, his recovery could still stretch past Oct. 28. Dallas is very thin behind Parsons, with first-round pick Justin Anderson providing the only true small forward option.
While the surgery is unfortunate, it also could have been worse. Regardless of whether he debuts on opening night or a few weeks later, the Mavericks expect a season from Parsons that lives up to his $46-million contract they handed him in 2014.