Washington Wizards center Etan Thomas could miss the remainder of the season because of a fractured left eye socket that has caused double vision and extensive swelling. He suffered the injury Friday when he was inadvertently elbowed by New Jersey Nets forward Richard Jefferson.
An examination Monday revealed the fracture in the orbital bone, which has left the eye nearly swollen shut since the injury. Thomas, a backup center-forward, will be placed on the injured list Wednesday and center Jahidi White, who has not played all season after having left knee surgery last summer, will be activated.
"He will have some more tests next week and, if the double vision has gone away, he'll be out two weeks," Wizards Coach Doug Collins said of Thomas. "If not, there will be surgery and he'll probably be out six weeks."
There is a chance Thomas could be back by the end of the regular season if surgery is required, but conditioning factors could hamper his return. Washington has 26 regular season games remaining.
Thomas is averaging 13.5 minutes, 4.3 rebounds and 4.0 points in 38 games but had been used with more frequency of late because of his improved play and rugged style.
The 6-foot-9 White should be able to provide the Wizards with the interior muscle they lose with Thomas. That is all Washington could ask with him missing the first 56 games, Collins said. The 290-pound bruiser was the Wizards' primary starter at center until Brendan Haywood's emergence.
Foot and leg injuries have plagued White, who starred at Georgetown and was Washington's second-leading rebounder last season (6.3 average). He has averaged 6.6 rebounds per game in his four-year career.
This summer, White had an abnormal growth removed from his left knee in a major procedure that kept him from significant physical activity until November. He was projected to return in late December or early January, but his conditioning and lack of mobility kept him from being activated. He has practiced with the team for months and has said he is healthy enough to play.
Russell Has Migraines
Small forward Bryon Russell sat out the first half of tonight's game and did not leave the locker room for the second, suffering from what the team was calling migraines. Russell, who has been a bit of a disappointment since signing as a free agent last offseason, was benched for three games by Collins before tonight.