vs. San Antonio
_____ Wizards in '05 _____
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Forward-center Kwame Brown (right ankle inflammation) has removed the protective boot from his right foot and was shooting in sneakers before the Wizards played the Pacers last night.
"I can do toe lifts . . . but I can't jump yet," Brown said. "By the end of the week, I hope I can start jumping again."
Brown has been on the injured list since Jan. 12 and isn't expected to return until after the all-star break, possibly in March. The foot "feels good, feels a lot better," said Brown, who is averaging 5.6 points and 3.4 rebounds in just 14 games this season.
"I think we're being a little more cautious now, which is a good thing," Brown said.
Brown will be a restricted free agent this summer and said he felt he rushed back too soon, which led to complications in his foot. He had offseason surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot suffered last summer. . . .
With forward Etan Thomas getting almost one-third of his total points (72) this season in just one game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, Coach Eddie Jordan isn't expecting that kind of production every night. Thomas had 23 points and eight rebounds against the Bucks, giving Jordan plenty of reason to be optimistic after the fourth-year player had missed most of the season with an abdominal strain.
"He's just a competitor. He was our guts and glory guy last year and he hasn't lost any of that," Jordan said. "We said it's going to take some time. We have to be patient. You hang in there. You keep him in the rotation."
Thomas said he had to stay positive while working himself back.
"An injury is something that is unfortunate, but there is really nothing that you can do about it," Thomas said. "I definitely can't feel sorry for myself. I just have to keep fighting and working hard, which is something that I am not afraid to do." . . .
Indiana guard Reggie Miller has more years of experience (17) than the Wizards' starting five combined. Antawn Jamison (six seasons), Gilbert Arenas (three), Brendan Haywood (three), Jared Jeffries (two) and Jarvis Hayes (one) have played a total of 15 seasons in the NBA.
-- Michael Lee