Washington Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan hasn't tried to count the number of players remaining on his preseason roster. "I've got the required eight -- I think," Jordan said, laughing. "That's all that matters now."
Actually, Jordan had 11 players at his disposal in a 110-82 loss to the defending champion Detroit Pistons on Friday at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Kwame Brown (foot surgery), Etan Thomas (abdominal strain), Steve Blake (ankle surgery) have been out all preseason and Gilbert Arenas (sore ankle) and Anthony Peeler (dental surgery) missed their second consecutive game. Then, Jarvis Hayes, the team's leading scorer in the preseason at 18.8 points per game, woke up with stiffness in his back, forcing him to miss the morning shoot-around and the game.
Jared Jeffries made his first start of the preseason in place of Hayes and fouled out with five rebounds, three assists and two points. Hayes said he should be back for the Wizards' only game, at MCI Center on Sunday against the expansion Charlotte Bobcats.
Peeler, who had a root canal on Monday, has been able to practice the past two days and said he'll try to go then, too.
With so many players out, Jordan hasn't been able to get his rotation ready for the opening game, which is Nov. 3. The Wizards have three more preseason games, against the Bobcats, the Chicago Bulls on Monday and the Los Angeles Lakers in Oklahoma City on Oct. 28.
"I'm just playing the guys that are available," Jordan said. "I wouldn't say that it hampers me. It's an adjustment you have to make."
The Wizards were tied at 64 after three quarters and they forced the Pistons into 29 turnovers -- but they committed 30, including 10 in the fourth quarter.
The Pistons started the period with a 21-2 run and outscored the Wizards 36-18.
"It was okay for three quarters, then they let the press out and the press hurt us," Jordan said. "The guys that are fighting for jobs over there, really worked their butts off." . . .
After scoring 19 points with five steals, guard Larry Hughes said: "We didn't score enough points. We didn't get enough attempts because of turnovers."