No final decision has been made regarding surgery for Rashard Lewis’s ailing right knee, but the Wizards plan on having him available when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday. A day after Lewis said that he might need a scope to remedy to clean out his knee, Coach Flip Saunders said that plan is to keep using him at limited minutes.
“Rashard is going to play,” Saunders said. “He’s fine. He’s got a situation with his leg that he’s not going to hurt anymore, but he has soreness. And sometimes, the soreness in his knee puts him in a situation where his leg can’t fire as much as he wants to. He’s such a professional, he wants to play and perform at a high level and he wants to help the team. He feels sometimes that he’s not out there helping enough. I told him, ’Let me be the judge of that.’ ”
Lewis has struggled since returning from the all-star break, averaging just four points and shooting 30.7 percent (8-of-26) from the floor. He had just two points, on 0 for 2 shooting, in five minutes on Wednesday in the Wizards’ 106-102 loss against Golden State.
But with Al Thornton getting a buyout and signing with the Golden State Warriors this week, the Wizards would suddenly be thin at small forward if Lewis is forced to sit because of injury. Starter Josh Howard is also playing under a minute restriction. But Saunders said the Wizards need Lewis for more reasons that just his ability to spread the floor on offense.
“He’s important to us,” Saunders said. “As much as anything, just his leadership. When we played well during that stretch, of playing against good teams and some of the games we won, he was playing well because he does a lot of things that go unnoticed. We’ll just have to keep on monitoring it. He’s going to keep on rehabbing it. And we’re going to try some things to keep him loose when he sits out some and just monitor him more.”