by Michael Lee
Rashard Lewis said on Thursday that he might have to have season-ending surgery to repair the problems in his right knee and that a decision to shut down his season could be made later in the day. Lewis spoke with his agent, Tony Dutt, who was expected to reach a decision after discussing options with Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld and the team’s medical and training staff.
“I’m in conversations with my agent and with the staff now of deciding if we’re going to get the scope done or not,” he said. “We either going to get it done this week or we going to grind it out and wait until the season is over with. I’ll know in a couple hours.”
Lewis hinted three weeks ago that “surgery is an option” but added that he was hesitant, hoping that some rest and treatment could help him get through the remainder of the season. Lewis missed the last three games before the all-star break, but since returning, he has mostly received limited minutes and his situation isn’t improving.
“It’s not getting better at all,” Lewis said. “The knee’s just stopped me from doing a lot of things I want to do on the court, and I think it’s just getting to a point where I’m going to have to get the scope done, start the rehab and hopefully just come back with a fresh start and healthy. Start all over.”
In six games since the all-star break, Lewis is averaging just four points and shooting 30.7 percent (8-of-26) from the floor. He had just two points, on 0 for 2 shooting, in five minutes on Wednesday in the Wizards’ 106-102 loss against Golden State.
Lewis was acquired from Orlando in exchange for Gilbert Arenas on Dec. 18, but said he has experienced problems with his right knee all season. “It’s not something that happened when I got here. It’s been all year long. It’s just got worse as the year went on,” said Lewis, admitting that this has been a difficult season. “It’s been very tough. Getting traded in the middle of the season, with the injury, and not being able to perform to a high level on a new team to show, you know, trying to show signs of turning an organization around. But with this injury, it’s just holding me back.”
Coach Flip Saunders missed practice again and assistant Randy Wittman filled in. Wittman was unsure when Saunders would be able to return. “I really don’t know where it is,” Wittman said when asked for an update. “I talked to Flip this morning and was going to wait until this afternoon to see how the situation with his family is this afternoon. He might be coming back here tomorrow. He might not. As time passes, we’ll know more.”
Lewis has been reluctant to have surgery for several reasons, one being the perception that comes with ending the season early for a team that is just 15-45. “I don’t want to leave these guys out to dry, leave them hanging with having a tough season,” he said.
“When we win, we all win. When we lose, we all lose so I don’t want to make it look like I’m quitting on these guys. That’s why I’ve just been trying to stick it out even though I can’t perform. I’ve just made my presence to help. I don’t want it to seem like I’m folding on these guys. I’m just trying to keep pushing.”