Haywood Will Miss Four to Six Months

Instead of following up a career-best season, Wizards center Brendan Haywood will be out with a torn ligament in his wrist.
Instead of following up a career-best season, Wizards center Brendan Haywood will be out with a torn ligament in his wrist. (By Jesse D. Garrabrant -- Nbae/getty Images)
By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 9, 2008

MEMPHIS, Oct. 8 -- The Wizards hoped to break a recent trend by making it through an entire season without a rash of injuries. As things stand now, the luck-starved team couldn't even get through a pair of preseason games.

According to sources familiar with the situation, veteran center Brendan Haywood learned Wednesday that he needs surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right wrist and will be out four to six months.

The team also learned that forward Antawn Jamison has a right knee contusion, an injury he suffered during the first quarter of Tuesday's preseason opener at Dallas when his leg buckled under him as he moved out to defend Dirk Nowitzki late in the first quarter.

According to a source familiar with the situation, Jamison was told that he could miss as long as two months with that type of injury, but the two-time all-star typically bounces back quickly from injury. He vowed to be in the lineup for the Oct. 29 regular season opener against the New Jersey Nets at Verizon Center.

"Oh, I'm going to be ready, you can count on that," said Jamison, who underwent an MRI exam in Memphis on Wednesday afternoon and was on the bench later for Washington's 89-80 win over the Grizzlies. "I'm a fast healer, always have been so I don't see it lasting that long. I'm not promising anything but just me talking in general, I plan on being ready for the opener."

Haywood injured the wrist during a training camp practice last Thursday in Richmond. The injury was originally diagnosed as a sprain but after Haywood continued to experience swelling and pain, he met with a series of hand specialists. On Tuesday, one specialist recommended surgery and Wednesday, meetings with two more specialists in New York led to the same conclusion.

A date for surgery has not been set.

The loss of Haywood is a severe blow to a Wizards team that is already without all-star guard Gilbert Arenas, who is expected to miss at least the first month of the regular season.

Etan Thomas started Tuesday's loss in Dallas and Wednesday's game at Memphis while Andray Blatche and rookie JaVale McGee also saw action at center.

Guards Nick Young (left knee) and Juan Dixon (right calf) did not play. Young expects to be out at least a week and a half, and Dixon hopes to play Friday night against Detroit.

Thomas, who missed all of last season following open-heart surgery, is in terrific physical condition but is also working off a year's worth of rust. He was limited to 11 minutes on Tuesday in part because Dallas employed smaller lineups for much of the game, but was on the floor for nearly the entire first quarter Wednesday and finished with eight points and five rebounds in 18 minutes.

"We like the way Etan is playing," Coach Eddie Jordan said. "His veteran experience, his veteran savvy, his aggressiveness, the way he plays. We need that force. We've always said Etan brings that force."

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