Andray Blatche will miss three to five weeks with a strained calf muscle in his left leg, Wizards interim coach Randy Wittman said on Monday during his pregame news conference.
Tightness in Blatche’s calf kept him out of most of Saturday’s 102-99 victory over Charlotte, and subsequent evaluation and an MRI exam revealed the injury. Blatche played eight minutes against the Bobcats, scoring four points before the muscle tightened and forced him to the bench with his calf wrapped.
Blatche is the Wizards’ second-leading rebounder and is averaging 10.3 points per game. Wittman said there “there is a lot of bleeding in there, which leads to inflammation” in the calf. Blatche stayed home from Verizon Center, with doctors advising him to rest and take pressure off the leg.
“Disappointed obviously,” Wittman said when asked about Blatche’s reaction to the news. “We all are. Anybody that has to sit and miss time is a situation you don’t want to see any of your players in.”
With Blatche out, the Wizards used rookie Jan Vesely, Trevor Booker and Chris Singleton at power forward on Saturday. Vesely started in place of Blatche the past two games. He had two points in 26 minutes against Charlotte, while Booker played almost 19 minutes with 16 points and three rebounds. Singleton, also a rookie, played 11 minutes 31 seconds but did not score.
With Blatche unavailable, the Wizards called up Hamady Ndiaye, who had been playing for the Iowa Energy, Washington’s Developmental League affiliate. Second-year big man Kevin Seraphin, JaVale McGee’s primary backup at center, will also get some time at power forward.
“It’s a tough loss for this team,” Wall said. “You just look for Jan, Book, Kevin and H, those guys will step in that role, play the four positions, and just do the best they can. I’m not telling them to be Dray, but just be the player they is and do the right thing to help us out. You’re going to lose a lot of points from Dray, but you can bring other assets on the defensive end with the other guys so it can still help us.
Blatche had been playing with a sore shoulder that kept him out three games this season, and the latest injury comes at a time when Ronny Turiaf is also out with a broken bone in his hand suffered in the third game of the season. A league source said the injury should not require surgery, but Blatche would have to recover through rest and rehab.
“It’s tough. Lockout, shortened training camp. We’ve been lucky up until this point,” Wittman said. “It’s too bad the injury has come, but it’s happening to everybody in this league.”
Roger Mason Jr. said Blatche was injured while trying to take a charge shortly after entering the game in Charlotte. Blatche labored while on the floor, unable to get back to keep up with Bobcats center Byron Mullens.
“I didn’t know how bad it was,’ Mason said. “It’s too bad for him. I know that he was trying to turn the corner. He was being a better teammate. Any time you lose a guy that’s a big part of your team, it’s tough.
“This will be good for him,” he said. “For him to get himself healthy. Really attack the weight room. Really attack his body and get back 100 percent to finish the season strong. I’m going to tell him when I speak to him, when negatives happen, you’ve got to turn it into a positive. These are the cards he’s been dealt. He’s got to make the most of it.”
Wall said the Wizards would look differently without Blatche in the lineup. “It’s not going to hurt the spacing because you roll and replace somebody. Now you don’t have somebody that’s popping for jump shots. You have somebody that can roll and you can find right there with a pocket pass. It can be tougher, sometimes it can be easier. You just go with the flow of the game.”