But the right shoulder injury that cost Singleton two games this preseason was the result of a collision that could’ve occurred no matter what position he plays — and Singleton actually had the size advantage when Charlotte Bobcats point guard Ramon Sessions bumped him in the preseason opener.
“It wasn’t like I had a [power forward] or [center] in a wrestling match. It was actually a guard that hit me,” Singleton said. “Just a freak play. It just got banged up.”
When Singleton arrived for training camp nearly three weeks ago at George Mason, he was expecting to engage in a battle with veterans Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster for the starting small forward spot he held for 57 games as a rookie last season. But with the Wizards missing Nene, Trevor Booker and Emeka Okafor early on, Coach Randy Wittman made the 6-foot-9 Singleton a part of his big man rotation.
Booker and Okafor returned in the past week but Kevin Seraphin’s right calf injury kept Singleton in the same role as the Wizards took on the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night at Bradley Center.
“He’s still going to have to [play big] with where we’re at, with injuries. He’s given us great rebounding. And that’s what he’s got to continue to do,” Wittman said before Saturday’s game of Singleton, who grabbed 16 rebounds and scored 17 points in his first two games off the bench.
Singleton had eight points and two rebounds in the Wizards’ 102-94 exhibition victory over the Bucks. Booker led all players with 22 points and Jordan Crawford and A.J. Price both had 17 for the Wizards (2-4), with Price adding a game-high 11 assists.
The Wizards drafted Singleton 18th overall out of Florida State in 2011 primarily because he had the versatility and the strength to play multiple positions, especially on the defensive end. Both those qualities have already been put to the test in practice and the preseason.
Singleton kept playing despite the bruised shoulder in the opener but a few more taps while scrapping for position in a loss to New York forced him to take some rest and let it heal. His shoulder remains “a little stiff,” he said. “Still banged up, but I can get through it. Just have to get back into the swing of things.”
The dangers of being in a relentless pursuit of the ball won’t keep him from playing with the same aggressive style that earned him a starting job last season, Singleton said, though Wittman has urged him to stop committing silly fouls.
Singleton will, however, have to make a few adjustments this season, with most of his offseason preparation back home in Atlanta and in Tallahassee made insignificant until he returns to playing small forward.