Wizards to leave for Cleveland early to avoid Hurricane Sandy

October 28, 2012

(Associated Press)

As the mid-Atlantic region made final preparations and braced for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, the Wizards made an adjustment of their own to avoid the severe storm.

The Wizards will depart Dulles for Cleveland at 8 a.m. Monday ahead of their regular-season opener Tuesday against the Cavaliers, rather than practice at Verizon Center and travel in the afternoon as they typically would. 

“It’s not ideal but, you know what, safety first No. 1,” Coach Randy Wittman said. “Listening to people talk, they’re talking about the storm of the last 20 to 30 years that’s come across here. Obviously the league also has input on that, making us get out early to secure that we get [to Cleveland].”

Sandy is expected to drop 4-7” of rain and bring sustained winds above 35 mph between Sunday and Tuesday, according to the Post’s Capital Weather Gang, with the worst impact coming Monday into Tuesday.

While the Frankenstorm may have brought an unanticipated backdrop to their season opener, the Wizards are anxious to get the 2012-13 campaign underway.

“Been ready. Been ready since the offseason,” small forward Martell Webster said. “It’s been a great camp. Guys came in brought 100 percent of their effort, 100 percent of their focus and I’m excited to get it started.”

What the Wizards’ 15-man roster will look like when they kick off the season against Cleveland, though, remains uncertain. Washington has two more cuts to make before 5 p.m. Monday. With 13 players signed to guaranteed contracts, those on non-guaranteed training camp contracts Brian Cook, Earl Barron, and those on partially-guaranteed deals Shelvin Mack and Jannero Pargo have been left to battle for the remaining spots.

Wittman didn’t divulge the team’s roster plans following Sunday’s practice and said he didn’t know how many players would make the trip to Cleveland.

“We’re going to sit and talk,” Wittman said. “I haven’t talked to management yet to see exactly what we’re going to do.”

•Wittman said he expects Emeka Okafor to be ready to face the Cavaliers on Tuesday, offering some positive injury news for Washington. Okafor sat out the preseason finale Friday against San Antonio after injuring his right shoulder in practice the day before.

“Still a little sore but obviously improvement,” Wittman said. “There  should be no problem there, moving forward.”

• The final preseason road trip included an extra adventure for Martell Webster, who didn’t realize until the team arrived at Dulles early Saturday morning that he left his keys in Kansas City, Mo. Luckily, he was able to get into his car thanks to an app on his phone and wait for his wife to come pick him up.

“Good thing I have a wife that loves me. She came and got me,” Webster said. “I slept in my car for two hours, I’m not going to lie. I called my wife I was like, ‘You know what it is 3:30. I’ll let you sleep a couple more hours but you need to come get me.’ And she got me we’re good.

“As long as I had shelter I was good,” Webster said. “By the time I had figured out my keys were in Kansas City everybody was gone. I didn’t want to call anybody, I didn’t mind. I’m from the Northwest, we do weird stuff like sleep in our cars – not a problem. If you haven’t slept in your car then you’re weird”

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