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Washington Wizards dealing with injuries to Rashard Lewis and Josh Howard

By Gene Wang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 21, 2011; 12:02 AM

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Washington Wizards practiced for the first time with a full roster.

Injuries, however, are beginning to mount again. Forward Rashard Lewis continues to deal with a sore right knee and swingman Josh Howard is not mending as quickly as he hoped from a sore left knee.

Lewis played 37 minutes in Wednesday's 100-87 loss at Milwaukee and finished with eight points while missing 8 of 11 shots, including all five three-point attempts.

"I know I'll be able to play tomorrow," said Lewis, who indicated his knee had been bothering him since he joined the Wizards in a Dec. 18 trade that sent Gilbert Arenas to Orlando, "but I don't know how I'll feel in a back-to-back."

The two-time all-star with the Magic had been averaging 13.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists with Washington.

He averaged 12.8 points and 5.4 rebounds in 38 games this season with Orlando.

Howard, meantime, is at least several weeks from getting back onto the court as he heals from tendinitis in his left knee that flared up on Jan. 5 in a 109-97 loss to Philadelphia at Wells Fargo Center. Howard played 12 minutes and missed all three of his field goal attempts before leaving for good.

The former all-star with the Dallas Mavericks since has missed the past seven games.

"It's the same thing it's always been as far as his knee," Coach Flip Saunders said.

Howard received treatment on his knee on Monday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

His first setback with tendinitis came in November - it delayed his season debut - and it appears doubtful he'll be ready to go when the Wizards play his former team on Jan. 31.

A lot of back-to-back

As if the Wizards weren't exasperated enough about weathering an 0-20 start on the road following the loss to the Bucks, their tribulations figure to escalate even more in light of the unforgiving schedule over the next month.

The punishing stretch comprises back-to-back games five times in a row, beginning Friday night against Phoenix, which has won four straight games, and Saturday against reigning Eastern Conference champion Boston.

Both games are at Verizon Center.

After completing the mini-homestand, the Wizards play five of their next six on the road, where they are nine games from matching the longest losing streak to start a season. Four of Washington's opponents during that time are well on their way to the postseason, with Oklahoma City, Dallas and New Orleans in the mix for perhaps a top-four seed in the Western Conference.

"Well, we've got eight games in 11 days as much as anything else," Saunders said on Thursday after an abbreviated practice. "Today we just did a little bit of shooting, walked through some things, so we were only out there for probably about a half an hour. Just trying to get them off their legs. The thing is you hope that you can play well because you don't have a lot of practice time coming up right now, and a lot is going to be mental preparation."

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