Ruffin Might Start In Place of Butler

By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 18, 2007

Before last night's game against the New Orleans Hornets, Washington Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan said he and his coaching staff were weighing all of their options before deciding on a replacement starter for injured forward Caron Butler, who is expected to miss at least six games with a left knee contusion.

Second-year forward Andray Blatche made his ninth start last night, but Jordan said he was also considering starting Michael Ruffin against a Hornets lineup that includes an active front line of Tyson Chandler, David West and Desmond Mason.

Blatche (6 feet 11), center Calvin Booth (6-11) and guard-forward Jarvis Hayes (6-8) each have started in place of Butler or Antawn Jamison, and Jordan said he would consider starting Ruffin (6-8) against certain teams.

Jordan said he would prefer to stick with one starting unit but would consider altering it based on matchups. Jordan has employed eight different lineups this season. "I hate to do that, but it may be that way," Jordan said.

Blatche was inactive for Wednesday's win at Indiana and likely would have continued to be deactivated for the remainder of the season had Butler not been injured. Reserve forward Darius Songaila said that regardless of who starts, the bench will be key as the Wizards try to win games without their third leading scorer and rebounder.

"I think our bench play is going to be extremely important, especially without Caron," Songaila said. "We have to play with energy, play good defense, get some turnovers and convert on the other end. We can give the starters a break and make sure they do not wear down because this is the stretch where they need a little bit of rest before the playoffs start."

UP NEXT Tuesday at TrailBlazers10 p.m. Comcast SportsNet, WTEM-980 Wednesday at Sonics10 p.m. Comcast SportsNet, WTEM-980

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