Rashard Lewis is having a rather forgettable first full season in Washington. He did enough to became the third player in NBA history to score at least 15,000 points, grab 5,000 rebounds and hit 1,500 three-pointers in his career, but he has only scored in double figures just nine times – and none since Feb. 12.
Lewis hasn’t played since the all-star break and has missed 18 games during a season that has proven to be the least productive since his rookie season in Seattle. He lost his starting small forward job, is shooting just 38.5 percent, averaging 7.8 points and has been experiencing pain in both knees — soreness in the right and a bone bruise in the left.
“It’s been very tough, especially early on in the season. I wasn’t playing well at all. I wasn’t shooting the ball well. I totally take the blame for that,” Lewis said. “Then, the [right] knee injury, trying to play through that, my knee started getting sore. It was sort of a roller coaster ride for me and then now, to come with the bone bruise. It’s just a setback even more.”
Lewis said he suffered the bone bruise in his left knee on Feb. 22 against Sacramento, as he landed awkwardly after grabbing a rebound. He has had two synvisc shots in his knee to help expedite the healing process. After having his second shot in Atlanta last week, Lewis said wanted to get out and test it as soon as he could.
“It was the best I ever felt, the whole time, after I got hurt over the all-star break,” Lewis said.
Two days later in Memphis, Lewis played rookie Shelvin Mack one-on-one and felt some spring in his step.
“I was playing him pretty hard, felt good. I dunked the ball, like twice,” he said. “And I think after the game was over, I went to the side and sat down and a sharp pain in the same spot, right in there on the bone bruise. I think I kind of re-aggravated it instead of letting it heal all the way. I was trying to force the issue, trying to hurry up, return back to play with my teammates.”
Lewis was reportedly going to be part of a deal that would’ve sent him and JaVale McGee to New Orleans for Chris Kaman, Trevor Ariza and Carl Landry, but the Wizards elected to take the three-team package with Denver and the Los Angeles Clippers that yielded Nene and Brian Cook. He is under contract for one more season after this one, but he could also be bought out for $13.7 million of his $22 million salary.
With the Wizards taking on a different identity after the trade, Lewis said he is still eager to get back out and compete. “I’m trying to get out there with the guys, especially after the trades we made,” Lewis said. “Jordan [Crawford] has been playing well. John [Wall] has been playing well. [Trevor Booker] is playing well. Even Kevin [Seraphin]. We got Nene. Randy Wittman, he’s coaching the right way, making sure guys do the right thing. Now you have the type of guys on the floor making the extra pass, or if you’re double-teamed, moving the ball around, helping each other on defense. I just feel like the guys are playing the right way on the court. Playing well as a team, makes the game more easy.”
Lewis doesn’t know when, or if, he’ll have a chance to join them this season. “Now I have to sit my butt down and just rest it a little bit,” he said.