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Wizards Insider

Thursday, March 31, 2005; Page D07

WHO'S NEXT?

at Magic

Tomorrow, 7 p.m.

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Wizards center Brendan Haywood said he will not need surgery to repair his broken left thumb and that he could return to action in three weeks.

"The bone is in place where it'll heal by itself. So in three weeks, it'll be as good as new," said Haywood, who was injured in the final minute of the Wizards' 98-94 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday. Haywood met with a hand specialist on Monday and determined that although the injury was not in his shooting hand, it would be best to sit.

"If it's for a one-game shot, to decide if we're going to the playoffs, could I go out there and play? Yeah. But right now we've done pretty well without me and this would be more beneficial for us," Haywood said. "If I come back and it gets hit again, then I would have to have the type of surgery that Larry Hughes had, with a pin going in [the thumb] and I'll probably have to be out the whole playoffs. Do you want to miss me for three weeks or six weeks? In the end it's not worth it. I'll still be able to keep in shape. You don't got to worry about me coming back 30 pounds overweight or nothing like that."

Haywood said he hasn't seen replays of his injury, but he thinks that someone kicked his thumb, bending back the tip. "I looked at it and I knew it was broken. My thumb doesn't bend like that," he said. "It feels weird. It seems like the Wizards, we're cursed. We start off the year injured. We've been injured throughout." . . .

Second-year swingman Jarvis Hayes (fractured right patella) has ruled out returning in the regular season. Hayes, who averaged 10.2 points this season and has been on the injured list since March 5, can't run on the leg but is hopeful he can return for the playoffs. . . .

The Wizards have an 18-12 record against their final 12 opponents and they own a .500 or better record against nine of those teams. Orlando (1-2), the Wizards' opponent tomorrow night, Detroit (0-3) and Boston (1-2) are the only teams they haven't had success against this season.

-- Michael Lee


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