Wizards Notebook

Injuries Are Setting In Early Again

By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 10, 2008

Shortly after conducting an interview outside of the Wizards' locker room in Memphis Wednesday night, injured all-star forward Antawn Jamison experienced deja vu.

"This is like Groundhog Day, man," Jamison said. "It feels like I was standing here saying the same things last year."

Wizards fans can relate.

The Wizards opened training camp knowing that three-time all star and leading scorer Gilbert Arenas was expected to miss at least the first month of the regular season.

That was bad enough, but then things got worse Wednesday when starting center Brendan Haywood learned that he must undergo surgery on his left wrist and could miss between four and six months and that Jamison could be out at least a few weeks with a right knee contusion.

Jamison, who injured the knee during Tuesday's preseason opener at Dallas, is determined to be in uniform for the regular season opener on Oct. 29, but winning without Arenas and Haywood is going to be a major challenge for Coach Eddie Jordan's team.

The good news -- if there is any -- is that Jordan's team has been here before.

In each of the last four seasons, the Wizards have made the playoffs despite extended absences by key players such as Arenas (the last two seasons), Jamison (missed 12 games during the 2006-07 season), Caron Butler (various injuries the last two seasons), Etan Thomas (missed all of last season), Jarvis Hayes (missed huge chunks of the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons) and Larry Hughes (missed a chunk of games during the 2004-05 season).

Through it all, Jordan and his teams have remained competitive.

"We've gotten used to this kind of adversity," Jordan said following Wednesday's 89-80 victory at Memphis. "We've had injuries over the last four, five years and we've responded. We've had guys step up. Our front office has done a good job of balancing our roster with solid veterans and young guys with talent, so we've been able to make the best of it and make the playoffs the last four years."

The key to overcoming the latest batch of injuries, according to several veterans, will be the development of youngsters Andray Blatche, Nick Young, Dominic McGuire, Oleksiy Pecherov and rookie JaVale McGee.

That process continues tonight when the Wizards, who are 1-1 in the preseason, host the Detroit Pistons at Verizon Center.

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