-- The Washington Wizards opened their three-game, West Coast trip without swingman Jerry Stackhouse (pulled left groin) and might not have the services of their leading scorer until they return home to face the Toronto Raptors on Monday. Stackhouse is not expected to play Wednesday at the Los Angeles Clippers.
Washington started Bryon Russell at small forward tonight in a 99-80 loss to the Sacramento Kings and will continue to use him to replace Stackhouse, who has missed three straight games for the Wizards, whose record fell to 24-26.
"I'm going to try and work my way back and not try to do what I did before," said Stackhouse, who missed four games earlier this season when he initially suffered the injury. "The way it flared up right after I played, I definitely came back too early last time. Instead of it flaring up over and over, I want to get it right so I can be there at the end."
Wizards Coach Doug Collins has been forced into some fairly significant lineup shuffling with Stackhouse out as the team tries to stay in the playoff mix with just 32 games remaining.
Collins started Tyronn Lue at point guard against the Kings instead of third-leading scorer Larry Hughes, a move he said is not etched in stone, but one he'll stick with as long as it works. Lue has started the past two games, the first after Hughes bruised his left knee, the second because the team played well with him starting.
"Larry didn't do anything wrong. It's just that when Larry hurt his knee and sat out that game and we won, so [Collins] tried it again and we won so I guess if it ain't broke, don't fix it," Lue said.
In tonight's loss, however, Hughes came off the bench to score a team-high 19 points. Lue, meantime, had just five points and two assists.
Hughes declined comment on Collins's move.
Collins said he plans to use Hughes primarily as a shooting guard, with backup Juan Dixon handling most of the point guard duties. Lue, Hughes and Michael Jordan also could get a lot of playing time together, Collins said.