By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
DALLAS, Oct. 7 -- The Washington Wizards opened the preseason with a 108-82 loss to the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday night but that result was hardly the team's primary concern.
Center Brendan Haywood, who has been out since injuring his right wrist last Thursday, will have the wrist examined by a hand specialist in New York on Wednesday.
The injury was originally diagnosed as a sprain but Haywood, who shoots with his right hand, has continued to experience pain and discomfort in the wrist.
According to a source familiar with the situation, Haywood was examined by another specialist Tuesday and that doctor advised him to undergo a surgical procedure that would force him to miss four to six months.
Also according to the source, Haywood will elect to undergo the surgery immediately if Wednesday's examination leads to a similar diagnosis.
"The decision hasn't been made yet but we'll know more," Wednesday, the source said. "The best-case scenario is that he won't need the surgery and he'll be out for a couple of weeks. The worst-case scenario is that he needs the surgery and he'll miss four to six months."
Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said the team is waiting to find out how serious the injury is before drawing any conclusions.
"He's going to meet with the doctor [Wednesday] and once we have more detailed information, we'll go from there," Grunfeld said.
The team received another scare during the first quarter Tuesday night when all-star forward Antawn Jamison went down with a strained patellar tendon in his right knee. Jamison, who did not return to the game, was defending Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki and his right leg appeared to buckle as he planted his right foot.
Jamison dropped to the court in obvious agony while clutching his right knee. He was helped to the locker room by teammates and an athletic trainer. Jamison, who signed a four-year, $50 million contract extension in July, flew with the team to Memphis and will undergo an MRI exam Wednesday.
"It was a scary moment, and it hurt really bad at first," Jamison said. "But once I got back [to the locker room] and got some ice on it, I actually don't feel any pain right now, so that's a good sign. We'll have to wait and see what the MRI says, but I think I'm going to be fine."
The loss of either Haywood or Jamison for a significant amount of time would be a major blow to a team that is already without three-time all-star point guard Gilbert Arenas, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last month and is expected to miss at least the first month of the season.
Haywood averaged a career-high 10.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks last season, when he started 80 of 82 games and anchored a much-improved Washington defense with his length, quickness and knowledge of opposing tendencies.
Veteran Etan Thomas, who missed all of last season following open-heart surgery, started in place of Haywood on Tuesday night and finished with six points and two rebounds in 11 minutes. Andray Blatche and rookie first-round pick JaVale McGee also saw action at center.
The Wizards also played without guards Nick Young (sore right knee) and Juan Dixon (sore left calf). Young, who was bothered by soreness in the knee during training camp, said he would be out for a week and a half. Dixon was kicked in the calf during practice on Saturday and said he expects to miss Wednesday's game but hopes to return for Friday's home game against Detroit.
The Wizards were competitive early Tuesday night and led 28-27 after the opening quarter thanks in part to strong starts by Blatche, who scored nine of his team-high 18 points in the period, and Caron Butler, who scored eight points on 3-of-6 shooting in the quarter.
The game turned in the second quarter when the Mavericks shot 55 percent and opened up a 15-point lead. The Wizards shot 35.6 percent and committed 23 turnovers. Forward Oleksiy Pecherov pitched in with 12 points and six rebounds for the Wizards, and Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 17 points.
Wizards Notes: Starting with Wednesday night's game at Memphis, the remainder of the preseason games will be broadcast on WTNT 570 AM instead of ESPN 980. . . .
Single-game tickets for November home games go on sale Wednesday. . . .
Arenas made the trip and continues to rehab with team trainers.