Washington Wizards rookie Andray Blatche was released from Inova Fairfax Hospital yesterday afternoon, two days after being shot in the chest near his home in Alexandria. Police, who described the attack as an attempted carjacking, have not made any arrests but are continuing to investigate. The attackers were described as two masked men driving a light-colored van. The attack occurred at 6:13 a.m. Sunday in Alexandria.
The Wizards open training camp next Tuesday in Richmond but have set no timetable for Blatche's return to the court. The 6-foot-11 Blatche was the team's second-round pick in June's NBA draft. "Andray is doing very well and we are very encouraged by his progress," said Wizards President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld. . . .
The Wizards must decide today whether to match the contract offer Portland made to restricted free agent guard Steve Blake. Blake, who was drafted by the Wizards in the second round of the 2003 draft and appeared in 119 games during two seasons with Washington, signed a two-year offer sheet with the Trail Blazers last Wednesday.
However, because Blake is a restricted free agent, the Wizards had seven days to match Portland's offer. The former University of Maryland star, who was limited to 44 games last season because of a nagging ankle injury, has expressed a desire to move on, saying he wants to play more.
That opportunity may not exist in Washington. Veteran Chucky Atkins was acquired in the trade that sent Kwame Brown to the Lakers in exchange for Caron Butler and has been slotted to fill the role of primary backup to all-star Gilbert Arenas.
The Wizards have 15 players under contract for the upcoming season, the maximum number allowed by the NBA.
Portland, which has two inexperienced point guards on its roster, including rookie Jarrett Jack and second-year man Sebastian Telfair, would seem to be a good fit for Blake. However, Grunfeld has offered few details about his intentions, saying only that he has received Portland's offer and planned to weigh all of his options before making a decision.
If the Wizards decide not to match, Blake and former Maryland and Wizards teammate Juan Dixon would make their first visit to MCI Center on Nov. 30, when Portland makes its lone stop in Washington this season. . . .
All 82 regular season Wizards games will be televised during the upcoming season, the team announced yesterday. Comcast SportsNet will televise 59 games, including the Nov. 2 season opener at Toronto, WBDC-50 will carry 15 games and NewsChannel 8 will carry four games. The Wizards will also make seven national television appearances.
-- Ivan Carter