Washington Wizards forward Antawn Jamison practiced yesterday and will play tonight against the New Jersey Nets.
Jamison rolled his ankle during the first quarter of Thursday night's loss at Minnesota but remained in the game. He appeared to twist the same ankle and tweak his right knee in the fourth quarter and left the game with 4 minutes 40 seconds remaining.
Jamison has started all eight games this season after missing 14 games last season, most of them with knee soreness. The Wizards have gone with a lineup of Jamison, Gilbert Arenas, Brendan Haywood, Antonio Daniels and Jared Jeffries for seven of eight games. Daniels missed the loss to the Los Angeles Clippers with an ankle injury.
Garnett Praises Arenas
Minnesota forward Kevin Garnett praised Gilbert Arenas following Thursday night's game and also offered an assessment of where Arenas is as a player. Now in his 11th season, Garnett has long endured the extra pressure that comes with being asked to carry a playoff-caliber team, something the 23-year-old Arenas is just experiencing.
Arenas posted his third 30-point game of the season in Thursday's loss but his 33 points and five assists were not enough to overcome Garnett's brilliance. The eight-time all-star posted 25 points, 13 rebounds and 9 assists with no turnovers in 44 minutes.
"He has a difficult task on his hands as far as carrying a team but not just carrying it by scoring," Garnett said. "It's night in, night out making the next guy better, making the guy who is supposedly average, making him better than average. Gilbert can score. The next task will be getting Brendan Haywood, [Jarvis] Hayes, even Jamison, easy shots. Make the game come easy to those guys and make them step the level of their games up. I feel that's the next step for him."
In their three losses, the Wizards were unable to stop a hot player: Elton Brand of the Clippers (31 points, 13 rebounds), LeBron James of the Cavaliers (37 points, 10 rebounds) and Garnett.
"Every single night in this league you are going to run up against a great player who is capable of taking a game over and helping their team win," Arenas said. "Now we're going to New Jersey and they have great players. Being in the NBA is not easy."
One of the keys to last season's success was Washington's ability to avoid prolonged losing streaks. The Wizards lost three or more consecutive games only three times and typically followed up consecutive defeats with a win. After a rough stretch in which the team dropped four straight games in late January and early February, the Wizards bounced back to win four straight.
Heading into tonight's game against New Jersey (4-4), the Wizards will attempt to snap their first losing skid this season.
"We're fed up with this losing already," forward Caron Butler said. "It's not something we're going to get used to."
Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan and assistant Tom Young planned to attend a reunion at Rutgers last night. The event will honor the 1976 Rutgers team that advanced to the Final Four. Jordan was the point guard on that team and Young was the head coach.