Wizards Insider

Hobbled Team Left With Eight Men In

By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Washington Wizards could win a lot of games just with the guys who did not play against the New Jersey Nets last night. Caron Butler was a late scratch with the flu, so he joined Gibert Arenas (left knee), Brendan Haywood (right wrist) and DeShawn Stevenson (lower back pain) as regular starters who were not in uniform.

Also, Andray Blatche and Etan Thomas remain out with left knee injuries and veteran guard Juan Dixon missed his second straight game with a right elbow injury, leaving interim coach Ed Tapscott with only one regular starter (Antawn Jamison) and eight healthy players.

As he has all season, Tapscott remained upbeat despite the latest setback.

"You just have to go out and play," Tapscott said. "I try not to make a big deal out of it. It's next man up, step up. Where there's a challenge, there's opportunity. For some of these guys, it's: Take advantage of the opportunity because once those other guys start coming back, you're going to be playing less. Here's a chance to solidify your role. Make it tough on me."

Butler should be back in the next day or two while no firm timetable has been set for Arenas and Haywood, though the team hopes that both will be back after the all-star break.

Blatche said he his making "progress" and could return in four weeks. Stevenson, who has missed 17 games, said he expects to be out at least through the all-star break.

Dixon is day-to-day. Thomas has not undergone surgery to repair a torn left MCL and has not been ruled out for a return this season.

Up Next: Friday vs. Denver 8 p.m. ESPN, Comcast SportsNet, WTEM-980

Sunday vs. Indiana 6 p.m. CSN Plus, WTEM-980

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