Trevor Ariza will have an MRI on Thursday to determine the severity of the strained right hamstring that he suffered in the second quarter of the Wizards’ 92-79 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday at AT&T Center.
Ariza left the game after scoring three points, with three rebounds, two steals and two assists in 17 minutes. In the midst of one of his better campaigns, Ariza ranks third on the team in scoring at 14.8 points per game and was among one of the league leaders in minutes played this season. He scored 27 points and made five three-pointers the night before in Dallas.
“It was real tough,” Bradley Beal said, when asked about the challenge of finishing the game without Ariza, “given the way he’s been playing all year long and given what he’s been giving to us, his rebounding and shooting abilities, just his versatility he creates for us.”
With the Wizards trailing 45-30, Ariza darted in the direction of Spurs all-star point guard Tony Parker the moment Tim Duncan lifted his hands to pass the ball. Ariza’s anticipation paid off, with him stretching out to intercept Duncan’s telegraphed pass as Parker fell to the floor.
But Ariza felt a tinge in his right leg almost immediately after he took off running toward the basket. Ariza drove and dumped the ball off to Marcin Gortat but collided with Duncan and landed awkwardly. Gortat got fouled on the play and Ariza repeatedly shook his leg and bent it back while standing at the foul line.
“I felt a little pop,” Ariza said. “I fell down and threw it to Marc. From then on, I just didn’t feel the same.”
The Spurs called timeout shortly thereafter and the sharp pain in his hamstring continued. Coach Randy Wittman was about to replace him but Ariza asked to stay in the game, telling Wittman that he was okay.
But Ariza came up limping on the next sequence after Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (13 points) intercepted a pass by Wall putting Ariza was on the chase. But instead of contesting a shot, Ariza grabbed Leonard, then reached for his right hamstring. Wittman immediately replaced him with Martell Webster. Webster started the second half at small forward and led all scorers with 21 points.
“It’s terrible,” Webster said of Ariza’s injury. “That’s one of my best friends on this team and it’s unfortunate that it happened. He’s been playing really great basketball at the beginning of this season, up until this point, and it’s unfortunate that that happened. You never want one of your teammates to go down. He’s been playing so well, had a great rhythm and hopefully it’s something that’s minor and he’s back before we know.”
The Wizards will return to the court on Saturday against Cleveland, but Ariza wasn’t sure that he would be able to play. He moved around in noticeable pain in the locker room after the game.
“It’s frustrating,” Ariza said. “But it is what it is. Martell came in and played well. Hopefully we’ll find ways to get it done Saturday. We’ll see where I’m at. Go from there.”