By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 20, 2009
After absorbing a tough 123-108 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night, the Washington Wizards were given a day off and the team will be back on the court tonight at Denver. The team concludes a four-game road trip tomorrow night in Phoenix.
Guard Juan Dixon, who left Wednesday's game in the first half after experiencing tightness in his right Achilles' tendon, will be evaluated today. Forward Caron Butler, who has missed the past three games with recurring tightness in his left hamstring, will also be evaluated today and remains day-to-day.
The short-handed Wizards, who have played without four opening day starters (Butler, Brendan Haywood, Gilbert Arenas and DeShawn Stevenson) the past three games and had nine healthy players after Dixon left Wednesday's game, have dropped four of their last five games. They face a stiff challenge tonight against a Nuggets squad that is scrapping for playoff position in the Western Conference.
Denver (44-25) pounded the Wizards, 124-103, at Verizon Center on Feb. 6.
The Wizards have struggled in back-to-back situations all season. The loss to the Clippers came one night after a blowout loss at Utah and dropped the Wizards to 1-14 this season in the second game of back-to-back contests.
Arenas's Status Looms
The status of three-time all-star Arenas hovers over just about everything the team does. Arenas did not travel with the team on the current road trip and continues to work out at Verizon Center but has yet to decide whether he is going to play before the end of the season.
A source close to Arenas indicated yesterday that he is in the process of making a decision and has not ruled out a return. Following tomorrow night's game at Phoenix, the Wizards will have 11 games remaining. Arenas has practiced with the team off and on since Feb. 16 and declared his surgically repaired left knee at "full strength" on Feb. 23.
Meanwhile, Haywood traveled with the team and is working out before games. Haywood, who underwent surgery on his right wrist in October, will have a chance Tuesday to practice at full speed for the first time since suffering the injury. Haywood said he needs "five to 10 good, hard practices" before attempting to play in a game.