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Wizards Suspend Brown for One Game

Forward, Coach Had a Quarrel

By Michael Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 10, 2004; Page D01

The Washington Wizards yesterday suspended forward Kwame Brown for one game following a run-in with Coach Eddie Jordan during the second quarter of Wednesday's loss to the Denver Nuggets.

Brown was not allowed to practice yesterday and will miss tonight's game against the New York Knicks. "Kwame has been suspended for conduct detrimental to the team, and will rejoin the team on Saturday," Jordan said in a statement.

Wizards forward Kwame Brown will miss Friday's game against the New York Knicks. (Jonathan Newton - The Washington Post)

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Team officials didn't announce what triggered the suspension, but sources said it was the result of an exchange between Brown and Jordan during a timeout with 5 minutes 55 seconds left in the second quarter. Jordan was upset that Brown missed a defensive assignment and witnesses said Brown walked away from Jordan while Jordan was trying to speak to him. Brown later refused to join the huddle and was benched for the remainder of the game after scoring four points in six minutes during the 111-105 defeat.

When contacted by phone, Jordan wouldn't comment further. Brown didn't return phone calls yesterday.

"This will be handled internally," Wizards President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld said. Brown "is an important part of our team and we'll move forward from there."

The 7-foot, 270-pound Brown made his season debut against the New Jersey Nets on Dec. 1 after missing the first 12 games of the season while recovering from surgery to repair a broken bone in his right foot in August. He played 14 minutes and was ejected following an altercation with Nets center Jason Collins.

Brown, the No. 1 overall pick in 2001, is averaging 6 points, 1.5 rebounds and 11.5 minutes in four games since his return. He averaged career highs with 10.9 points and 7.4 rebounds last season.

For the past week, Jordan has tried to ease Brown back into the flow without disrupting the chemistry of the team, which is 10-6 for the first time in 10 seasons.

Jordan has tried to monitor Brown's playing time, using him for six-minute spurts off the bench while Brown works his way back into shape. Brown broke a bone in his foot while playing a pickup game in Georgia last summer.

Since Brown missed more than three months of action because of his injury, Jordan speculated that Brown may not return to his old form for several weeks.

"He won't get right probably until mid-to-late January, maybe a little bit longer," Jordan said Wednesday before the Nuggets game. "You've seen it over the years, even with the best players. They miss training camp, the beginning of the season, it takes them tremendous amount of time to get back, get the feel and in rhythm with his teammates."

Brown came off the bench and scored 10 points in a season-high 20 minutes against the Hawks on Dec. 3, but he has played just 12 minutes combined in the past two games against the Chicago Bulls and the Nuggets, respectively, failing to play in the second half of either contest.

Brown, the first high school player to be taken with the top pick in the NBA draft, has had a troubled career on and off the court. He averaged 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds as a 19-year-old rookie and had well-documented clashes with former Wizards coach Doug Collins and team president Michael Jordan.

In 2003, Brown was arrested in his home town of Brunswick, Ga., and charged with driving under the influence, and the previous year he was arrested for driving 120 mph.

Also in 2003, Brown participated in a summer minicamp and played in the Wizards' first three summer league games in Boston, but decided to return to Georgia before the fourth game.

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