The Wizards do not have a timetable for his return and plan to monitor the injury. Seraphin grabbed a rebound and attempted to cut left, but immediately felt a sharp pain in his right calf, which he explained, “was just like, plack!” And as the 6-foot-9 center hobbled off the court, Coach Randy Wittman said he thought to himself, “Not another one.”
This has been an unforgiving preseason for Wizards centers and power forwards, a position that was considered a strength for the team. Nene arrived at training camp with plantar fasciitis, then Trevor Booker injured his left hamstring during two-a-day practices; Emeka Okafor endured food poisoning from a bad burger that caused him to lose 12 pounds and wiped him out of two games; and Chris Singleton, who moved over from small forward to power forward because of the lack of depth, banged up his left shoulder in a loss against the New York Knicks.
“Just seems to be, for some reason, we can’t keep a big healthy,” Wittman lamented after the win. “We had so many. I was worried, leading into the preseason, how I was going to get everybody minutes at the bigs. Now, I can’t find a big to get minutes.”
Okafor is expected to finally make his Wizards debut on Monday in the first game played at the new Barclays Center, where the Wizards will also have a reunion with Andray Blatche, who was waived in July after a seven-year stint in Washington. Booker and Singleton both returned to practice on Sunday and are getting closer to returning, but Wittman will be forced to lean upon training camp invitees Shavlik Randolph, Brian Cook and Earl Barron in the interim.
Randolph and Cook filled in admirably for Seraphin in Cleveland as they combined for 19 points and 12 rebounds. But Seraphin, a third-year forward, is the Wizards’ best low-post scorer not named Nene; adept at making hooks with either hand and hitting spot-up jumpers. He averaged 10.5 points starting at center in the first two games of the preseason.
Walking out of the visitor’s locker room in a walking boot, Seraphin refused to accept that the injury would keep him out for a prolonged period of time.
“I can put my feet on the floor and that doesn’t feel very bad. I’m going to be all right,” Seraphin said, before placing his index finger to the side of his temple. “Everything is in the mind.”
Wittman wasn’t nearly as optimistic after watching Seraphin move around. He had hoped to use the preseason as a time to see which combinations worked best with his intriguing collection of size, athleticism and beef. But now, the exhibition games will provide Randolph, Cook and Barron the opportunity to possibly compete for the final roster spot.