_____ Wizards in '05 _____
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NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 14 -- Yao Ming, meet Peter John Ramos. The Wizards activated the 7-foot-3 rookie from Puerto Rico on Monday and if center Brendan Haywood gets in foul trouble Tuesday night against the Houston Rockets, Coach Eddie Jordan said he wouldn't hesitate to put Ramos on the court against the 7-6 Yao.
"We don't really like the matchup of Yao with Etan [Thomas] or Michael [Ruffin]," Jordan said about his two forwards, who stand 6-10 and 6-8, respectively. "If we need to match eye-to-eye with Yao Ming, Peter is a good guy to have on the floor. I want a big guy there."
Ramos has played just 12 minutes in three games this season and hadn't seen the court since Nov. 13, when he had one rebound in four minutes in Cleveland. He was placed on the injured list with right shoulder tendinitis on Dec. 1. Ramos had a career-high six points in a 103-93 loss against the Miami Heat, but he didn't get to go head-to-head against Shaquille O'Neal because the game was out of control by the time Ramos entered. Said Ramos about the prospect of facing Yao: "I'm going to give it all I've got. I've been looking forward to this. I've been getting ready for the games."
Ramos will likely have a short stint on the active roster with both guard Larry Hughes (broken right thumb) and forward Kwame Brown (right ankle inflammation) expected to re-join the team after the all-star break. Ramos didn't seem to mind. "I was surprised that I was activated," he said. "I'm just trying to get ready for the next season. I'm using this season just to learn." . . .
The Wizards placed forward Samaki Walker on the injured list with a lower back strain. He has averaged 1.7 points and 1.3 rebounds this season. "Samaki has had some nagging injuries and we said, 'Let's rest Samaki for these two games and activate Peter,' " Jordan said. "Peter's been playing well in practice. He's gotten bigger and stronger, he's learned the offense a lot better. It's a good chance for him." . . .
The Wizards will participate in the 2005 Vegas Summer League from July 6-15 at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas. The Wizards were one of six teams to participate last year, but the event has expanded to 16 teams this summer. "What they pulled off last year was first class," Wizards President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld said.
-- Michael Lee