The Nets 19-year-old second round pick, Juan Pablo Vaulet, won't be back on the basketball court in Argentina for four months following surgery in New York last month to repair a stress fracture in his right ankle. It was his second ankle fracture in two years. Vaulet says he's been assured that the setback is "temporary" and "In four months I'll be playing as I did before."
There's no timetable for him to join the Nets, but Vaulet admits right now, he is not ready for the NBA, that he must improve his shot, improve his physical training and simply get more experience. .
"They (Brooklyn) chose me for later," the 6'6" athletic swingman told La Nueva, an Argentine newspaper.. "Everything requires a process. I now do not feel ready to play there. I do not want to rush the process. If one day I can get there, that's welcome. I have to first recover and then yes. I do not know how long. Maybe I can play in the NBA. Everything depends on me."
The Nets sent two future second rounders and $880,000 in cash to Charlotte for his rights on Draft Night. The Nets had hoped he would last until No. 41, but the Hornets took him at No. 39. The Nets then made two trades, acquiring Vaulet from Charlotte and sending the rights to the 41st pick to Portland in the Rondae Hollis-Jefferson deal.
At the time, Vaulet was in Greece for the FIBA U19 World Cup. He said initially he hoped to go to sleep and wake up to see whether he had been drafted. Instead, he and a teammate stayed up all night, waiting for him to be drafted. The draft started at 3 a.m., Greek time.
But the excitement of being the first Argentine to be drafted in a decade was tempered by pain in his ankle, which was particularly troubling. He had fractured his left ankle during another international tournament two years ago. After averaging 21 and 14 in the first two games of the FIBA South American tournament, he went down. Rehab of that injury took a year and a half.
This time, he tried to forget the pain, but couldn't and after two games in the FIBA U19 World Cup, he pulled himself out of the tournament. "The pain made me forget the draft. I was playing against the opponent and ankle pain," he told reporter Fernando Rodriguez.
"Juampi," as he's called in Argentina, was diagnosed with a stress fracture of the tibia bone, near where it connects to the ankle. Plans for him to play for the Nets summer league team in Orlando and Las Vegas had to be scrapped. He spent a few days with the team, then flew from Las Vegas to New York where he underwent surgery on July 15.
Dr. Martin O'Malley, the Nets foot and ankle specialist who was part of Brook Lopez's and Kevin Durant's surgical teams, performed the operation. Vaulet said the Nets medical staff suggested the stress fracture may have been the result of him overcompensating for the injury in his other ankle.
Vaulet said he was impressed by the way he was treated by the Brooklyn organization, "especially the importance they gave to the injury. I was treated very well."