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Wednesday, March 9, 2005; Page D06

WHO'S NEXT?

at Celtics

Sunday, 6 p.m.

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NEW YORK, March 8 -- Wizards forward Antawn Jamison was in black, but he preferred to be in blue. Jamison's tendinitis in his right knee forced him to miss Tuesday night's game against the New York Knicks, ending the NBA's longest active streak of consecutive games played at 386. "It's hard. You're not involved. It's not something I'm not familiar with," said Jamison, who had not missed a regular season game since the start of the 2000-01 season.

Jamison didn't say when he expects to return. The Wizards won't play again until Sunday. "We're going to rest this week and see what happens," said Jamison, who sat on the bench in a black suit. "I just got to make sure I'm able to contribute to this team and help my teammates. I think the rest will help out a lot."

The all-star forward, a seventh-year veteran, said that missing 39 games with a left knee injury in his second season with Golden State (1999-2000) was the motivation for his streak. But after advancing to the postseason last season with Dallas for the first time in his career, Jamison said that his focus has changed. "To be honest, the [consecutive games] streak isn't that important to me," he said. What's important is being ready to play toward the end of the season and in the playoffs. That's the only streak I want, is to continue to go to the playoffs. It was a good run. I just think, mentally, it's time to start another one." Toronto's Morris Peterson now has the longest active streak with 256 games. . . .

Forward Jared Jeffries had an MRI exam on Monday that revealed nothing more than a bruise, so he played for the first time since he banged his knee in Chicago on Feb. 24. However, Coach Eddie Jordan was still left with only nine players because reserves Etan Thomas and Anthony Peeler were unable to make the trip because of the flu. "It's something every team has to deal with," Jordan said. "We can't use it as an excuse. We've got to play harder than ever. It's just the nature of the business." Jordan said he was pleased to see that the Wizards have four days off until they face the Celtics in Boston. "It's obvious that there is rest needed for our guys to heal. It's a good thing."

-- Michael Lee


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