The Washington Post

Shortened training camp has some Wizards tired before season opener

Jordan Crawford is 23 and entering his second year in the league. But after Wednesday’s near two-hour practice, and with some sweat sitting on his forehead, he admitted his legs were tired.

The lockout-shortened season has forced teams to condense their training camps, which began on Dec. 9, into a shorter amount of time. The practices have also been more intense, with the Wizards holding two-a-days Dec. 10 through 14.

“We’ve been jamming so much in trying to get ready for the preseason … I asked Roger Mason the other day and he said his legs was dead, too,” Crawford said. “I think everybody is trying to cram everything in and causing a lot of people’s legs to be sore.”

The lockout-shortened 66 game season could be a blessing or a curse for some teams. For Wizards Coach Flip Saunders, a young team that’s in shape, could be an early surprise for some of the league’s older teams.

The Wizards’ schedule has 16 sets of back-to-back games and will have them play three consecutive games twice — not a feat for the weary or tired. So as training camp and the preseason winds down before Monday’s season opener, Saunders is mindful of making sure his players get enough time to rest to re-build their leg strength.

“They’re going to get a day off coming up here and hopefully they’ll be able to get their things back,” Saunders said. “But part of the thing with a shortened camp, with the amount of games we play, we can’t say, ‘We’re going to go out and get ourselves in shape with games.’ Because there are some teams that are. My thing is with a young team, if you’re in great condition, you may be able to steal some games early against, say, veteran teams that are taking more of that approach.”

James Wagner joined the Post in August 2010, wrote about high school sports across the region for two years and has covered the Nationals since the middle of the 2012 season.


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