Trevor Booker walked into the visitors’ locker room at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Wednesday covered in a full lather of sweat from a workout. Booker sat down, took a few swigs of Gatorade, then stated that he is making progress with his sprained right knee and is expecting to return to practice next week.
“I’m targeting the Atlanta game [on Jan. 12] for my comeback,” Booker said.
Booker hasn’t played since his knee gave while attempting a dunk in the Wizards’ 96-89 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Nov. 19 at Verizon Center. He recently had a platelet rich plasma treatment to help expedite the recovery and needed about 10 days before he could start getting back to physical activities.
Booker, Trevor Ariza, A.J. Price and John Wall all made the trip to Indianapolis, where the Wizards hope the third time is the charm against a Pacers team that won the first two games by a combined 11 points.
While Coach Randy Wittman was focused on helping his team end the latest two-game slide, he admitted that he is starting to see some hope about getting a full team in place sometime soon. Wittman is especially encouraged by Wall, who spent a considerable amount of time signing autographs for fans before the game.
“He’s progressing doing more and more each day. I do see a light,” Wittman said. “For a lot of our guys. Ariza, the last couple of days, is progressing good. A.J.’s got his cast off.”
Ariza is probably the closest of the injured quartet to returning to the court, but Wittman said he didn’t want to throw him back on the floor until he had some full-contact practice on his injured left calf. Wittman doesn’t want to get ahead of himself, waiting for the cavalry to arrive.
“You continue to monitor them, and you look for that, but you can’t dwell on that, because they are not here,” Wittman said. “The other thing is, we’ve got to play a game with the people that we have available and I’ve got to make sure I’m preparing them in the right way.”
Wittman is also optimistic that past experience against the Pacers should be beneficial for the Wizards (4-25).
“It should help you. We’ve played these guys twice in two pretty good, close games. We should have an understanding of what we’re up against and what we have to do to win a game like this,” he said. “I think it helps you, once you play a team a couple of times. Especially our young guys who may not know the guys in the league or the guys that they are playing against and now this is the third time and they know this guy likes to do certain things.”
Tipoff: 7 p.m.
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: 106.7 (WJFK FM)