Andray Blatche is the longest tenured player on the Wizards, but he doesn’t know how long that will be the case. The Wizards have actively shopped him with the hopes of moving Blatche before the March 15 trade deadline, but haven’t been able to find any takers yet.
Blatche is aware of the speculation surrounding him but said he wouldn’t let that affect the way he approaches the next 31 games – or even the next six before the deadline.
“I’ve been here for seven years. I’ve seen a lot of people come and go,” Blatche said. “But at this point, I’m not focused on that. I’ve just focused on getting back on the court and playing with my teammates and helping this organization. If in any way and form they feel like it’s time for me to go, it’s part of the business. No hard feelings in this at all. I’m just going to continue to play and hopefully when I got back out there I’m playing well.”
Blatche is expected to return on Saturday against Cleveland after missing the past 15 games with a strained left calf. He will have the opportunity to go up against Antawn Jamison – the man he backed up for his first 4½ seasons, before Jamison was traded to the Cavaliers.
Blatche has had some of his best games against Cleveland since that deal was made, including when he scored a career-high 36 points with 19 rebounds last April. Jamison missed that game with a broken pinkie in his left hand.
“It ain’t got nothing to do with Antawn or anything like that,” Blatche said with a grin about his comeback. “It’s just the timing that came.”
Blatche has been out since Jan. 28, when he tried to step in front of Charlotte’s Boris Diaw and take a charge but immediately felt something was wrong. “It was a freak play. When I first got in, Boris Diaw, he came down crazy out of control. I tried to take a charge and I fell down. I was getting up and I was like, ‘Aw, man.’ I tried to play. I thought maybe it’s just a cramp. It’s got to be a charlie horse or a cramp. So I guess I hurt it more as I tried to play through it. So I went to the back and I was like, ‘Aw, no this is bad.’ I couldn’t even run or walk, really. It was bad.”
The Wizards have been on the road for most of the time since Blatche has been injured, leaving him alone for most of his rehabilitation. Several teammates tried to stay connected through text messages or Blackberry messages. “I’ve been trying to stay in his ear, keep him positive, letting him know that we’re still thinking about him,” said Roger Mason Jr., who lives in the same neighborhood as Blatche. “We need him to keep working and need him to get back to help us get some wins.”
Nick Young made a plea for home fans to help Blatche ease his way back into the fold. Fans at Verizon Center have been booing him every time he touches the ball. “I know it’s been tough,” Young said. “He had a month off. Hopefully, the fans take it easy on him, give him another chance and he don’t let whatever happens affect him out there.”
Blatche admitted recently that the jeers had gotten to him, but he plans to play through the catcalls and the trade rumors. “I know we only have a handful of games left, but I still want to play those month and a half of games. It’s something that I get paid to do and something that I love to do, so I’m all for it.”