They were both in the locker room, seated next to each other, laughing and joking with their teammates after the Wizards defeated the Utah Jazz, 100-95, in overtime to claim their second road win of the season. Nick Young and Trevor Booker wanted to be out on the court to contribute to the win, but they are focused now on simply returning for some of the final nine games remaining.
Young wasn’t very optimistic that he would be able to come back on Sunday, when he left Oracle Arena in Oakland fearing that there was a possible meniscus tear in his sore left knee. He had an MRI on Monday that revealed no structural damage within the knee.
“That was a big relief for me,” said Young, who has missed six of the past eight games after a bone bruise developed on his left knee earlier this month. “I feel a lot better. I was little down, depressed, not knowing what was going to happen. Everything showed out okay, so I’m just going to rehab and try to get back.”
Young, the Wizards’ leading scorer, wasn’t certain when, or if, he’d be able to come back. But after returning before his left knee had returned to full strength and getting hurt again in his second game back, Young will likely be more patient, even with time running out on the season. “I’m not sure. I’m taking it day by day,” Young said.
Booker attempted to play against the Jazz, but his right foot was still too tender for him to play. He will have an MRI on Tuesday, but Coach Flip Saunders said the team is hopeful that Booker will be able to come back and possibly contribute when the Wizards host the Miami Heat on Wednesday. Booker had averaged 11.4 points and 7.6 rebounds in eight starts in March before getting injured late in the fourth quarter in Denver.
“It’s just real sore. The last couple of days, it’s been real sore to walk around,” Booker said of his foot, adding that he was uncertain when he could come back. “We’ll know more after the MRI.”
After the win over Utah, Young and Booker both praised their teammates for getting a win while short-handed. Young playfully called Othyus Jeffers, the undersized put tenacious swingman who had five offensive rebounds, playing tenacious defense and actually started the overtime period at power forward, “Baby Booker.”
Booker was impressed with the Wizards’ ability to compete despite being short-handed and on the second end of back-to-back games. “They played their heart out and we got the win,” he said. “That’s the way we need to play every night.”
Young looked at the impact of the win, as it kept the Wizards from matching the 1990-91 Sacramento Kings, who own the NBA record for road futility at 1-40. “We’re not the worst anymore,” Young said with a laugh.