Shaun Livingston’s hustle cost him a game, but he was fortunate that it didn’t cost him a tooth.
In the first quarter of the Wizards’ 108-196 double-overtime loss to Charlotte, Livingston dived to the floor for a loose ball and felt pain in two places: His mouth crashed into the hardwood, causing his head to pop back, and his right shoulder twisted back. Worst part, he still didn’t get the ball.
“It was a freak play,” Livingston said of his unfortunate face plant. “I just ate the ground, banged my mouth up and kind of went down on my shoulder as well. A double whammy.”
The strained shoulder forced Livingston to sit out against San Antonio, though Coach Randy Wittman said Livingston would’ve considered using him if the game hadn’t gotten so out of hand. But Livingston’s front tooth came loose in the process and he had to get an impression to wear a dreaded mouthpiece. Either that, or look like Alex Ovechkin.
“Another elbow or something and it might come out,” Livingston said.
Livingston said he has “no limitations, no restrictions” in his shoulder and will be available when the Wizards host Portland on Wednesday at Verizon Center. Since returning to the Wizards on Nov. 15, Livingston is averaging six points and 2.3 assists in four games, including two starts.
Despite his injury, Livingston still scored eight points in 22 minutes against the Bobcats, but he didn’t see the floor in either overtime period.
“I banged it up pretty good,” he said. “Any time you sit out, it could throw off your rhythm a little bit, and I’m kind of a rhythm player. That’s the only setback.”
Livingston has spent the past two weeks regaining his rhythm after the Houston Rockets cut him on Oct. 29 to save money $2.5 million in salary. Yahoo Sports reported that Livingston “often outplayed” Rockets guard Jeremy Lin and that coaches and players urged management to keep him.
“I’d be lying to you if I said it wasn’t [disappointing], but in the same sense, it’s the business of basketball. You’ve got to realize that, too,” Livingston said. “Being in this game nine years or whatever, you understand things happen. You can only control what you control, and that’s on the court. You can’t make front-office decisions and other stuff. You’ve just got to come out and do your job. You try to do it to the best of your ability.”
The Wizards were 0-7 when he signed Livingston but the losses eat at him, as well. He is eager to help his teammates end their season-long misery.
“I feel like I came in and I have the same burden in a sense,” Livingston said. “I might not feel it as much, just because I haven’t been here from day one. But I’m still in the locker room, with the team and so their losses are my losses.”
Livingston was signed to help the Wizards stem the tide while John Wall recovers from a stress injury in his left knee. Wall was projected to return after eight weeks, but that was nine weeks ago. He has started to increase his workload and is moving around more and participating in pregame workouts.
Wittman still can’t offer a timetable for Wall’s return but said he is getting closer. “Oh yeah, a little more each day. Progress is being made. No setbacks. Nothing has come back in the last couple of weeks. It’s been status quo, always been a step forward, so that’s a good sign.”