Washington Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan gave his team a much-needed respite Friday, and not just because his players had gone nonstop for 10 consecutive days, with a week of training camp and three preseason games in three cities the previous four nights (including a harder-than-anticipated, 126-125 double-overtime victory over the upstart Charlotte Bobcats).
The Wizards also need a break so that some key players can recover from minor injuries.
Larry Hughes experienced some soreness in his left knee following the second preseason game against the Philadelphia 76ers and sat out against the Bobcats on Thursday. Gilbert Arenas, who had been playing in the preseason despite a right ankle sprain, aggravated the injury in Charlotte early in the fourth quarter. And, the 12 players who survived the scare against the Bobcats -- most notably Antawn Jamison and Jarvis Hayes, who combined to play 101 minutes -- were tired afterward.
"I'll be glad to relax and take it easy," Jamison said after playing more minutes (52) against the Bobcats than he had in the previous two preseason games combined (51).
"We've had a tough training camp," Jordan said. "We won't play again until Wednesday, so we have a lot of time to recover."
Waiting on Thomas
The Wizards will have a team scrimmage and five more preseason games before the season opener on Nov. 3. They are expecting to have an update on Etan Thomas when practice resumes today. Thomas missed the first three preseason games after suffering an abdominal strain jumping for a rebound near the end of training camp. At the time, Thomas said it wasn't serious. . . .
Arenas sat out the morning shoot-around Thursday and Jordan planned on starting guard Billy Thomas in his place. Before the game against the Bobcats, Jordan said, "We know Gilbert's pain threshold -- he plays through pain -- and if he was able to go, he'd go."
About 10 minutes later, Arenas informed Jordan that he could start. Arenas, however, couldn't finish. "In three or four days, it'll be cool," Arenas said after the game. . . .
Although Jamison hit the game-winning jumper in double overtime against the expansion Bobcats, he blamed himself for letting the team get in that position. "I came out there not really ready to play and it showed," said Jamison, who scored 16 of his 20 points after the third quarter. . . . Hayes picked up five fouls in his first seven minutes of the preseason but he has just five more fouls in the 90 minutes he has played since. He also has led the Wizards in scoring, averaging 20.6 points. Hayes had 31 points and 14 rebounds against the Bobcats. His regular season career highs are 23 points and 14 rebounds.