Butler Has Torn Labrum In Left Hip

Caron Butler (3) is averaging 21.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
Caron Butler (3) is averaging 21.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. ( Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post)
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By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 28, 2008

CHICAGO, Feb. 27 -- Washington Wizards all-star forward Caron Butler has a partial tear of a labrum in his left hip, the team announced Wednesday. It is not known how long the injury will keep him out of the lineup. The team said he will be reevaluated next week.

Butler, who has missed the past 10 games and 14 games overall this season, originally suffered what was diagnosed as a strained left hip flexor during an overtime loss to Milwaukee on Jan. 27. He sat out three games, then returned for the Feb. 3 game against the Lakers. He aggravated the injury two days later during a loss in Philadelphia and has not played since.

Before his injury, Butler was having a career season. He is averaging 21.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.4 steals per game, good enough to earn him a second consecutive berth in the All-Star Game.

The Wizards are 4-10 without Butler, who did not accompany the team on its current road trip that concludes Friday night in Chicago.

The Wizards undoubtedly will be happy to see it end. They looked like a team that was playing its fourth game in five nights during an ugly 94-69 loss at Houston on Tuesday night. One night after pulling out a thrilling win at New Orleans thanks to DeShawn Stevenson's game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer, the Wizards scored a season-low 12 first-quarter points en route to one of their worst losses of the season.

Coach Eddie Jordan gave his players Wednesday off and the team will practice in Chicago on Thursday.

The Wizards played with energy and focus against one of the better teams in the NBA Monday night, beating the New Orleans Hornets, 95-92, yet displayed little of either against a Houston team that played without six-time all-star center Yao Ming.

The Rockets throttled the Wizards after learning that Yao will miss the remainder of the season with a stress fracture in his left foot and didn't even require a big scoring night from Tracy McGrady, who finished with 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting.

"We were pretty much drained but you have to give credit to them for the way they responded to the news about Yao," Jordan said. "Usually, when a team hears news like that, you go one of two ways: You play like they did or you feel sorry for yourselves and come out and don't play with energy. They came out and played very well and we didn't match them."

The Wizards remain in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, one game ahead of Philadelphia (the 76ers beat Orlando on Wednesday night), two games ahead of New Jersey and 3 1/2 games ahead of the Bulls, who beat Indiana on Wednesday night.

Chicago General Manager John Paxson recently shook up his team's roster with a three-team trade that sent out Ben Wallace, Joe Smith and Adrian Griffin and brought in former Wizard Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Shannon Brown and Cedric Simmons.

Until Tuesday night, when the Rockets held him to five points on 2-of-12 shooting, Stevenson had helped pick up some of the scoring slack created by the absence of Butler and Gilbert Arenas.

Stevenson scored a career-high 33 points at New Orleans and had scored in double figures in 10 straight games.

"You always want to have a break off a win, not a loss, so we want to get back with a sense of urgency against Chicago," Stevenson said. "Hopefully we can get that back and finish 2-1 on this trip."

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