The Wizards have played the past 12 games without Andray Blatche and 28 without Ronny Turiaf, leaving the team with an inexperienced front line. Neither Blatche nor Turiaf will be back on Wednesday against Sacramento, but a team source said on Monday that both are expected to return soon after the team comes back from the all-star break.
Turiaf, acquired on the first day of training camp in a three-team deal with New York and Dallas, broke a bone in his left hand in the fourth game against the Celtics. It was the same hand that he damaged last summer playing for France in the European Olympic qualifying tournament.
The 6-foot-10 Turiaf had surgery nearly seven weeks ago and was projected to miss just six weeks. Turiaf did travel with the team on its recent five-game road trip, and Coach Randy Wittman said recently that it was important to have the veteran big man around.
“Ronny is a good, positive influence on us on the road. He’s close,” Wittman said. “I want him to continue to run. He can do dummy stuff. He can’t do any contact yet. He is in practice with us, running up and down, making sure he’s staying familiar with what we’re doing from an offensive standpoint. And getting his legs, from a conditioning standpoint. Getting on the court, sometimes is for the best.”
Blatche, who is averaging 10.3 points, suffered a torn left calf muscle on Jan. 28 against Charlotte and was kept back to work on his rehabilitation and pool work. The Wizards have gone 3-9 since Blatche went down, and second-year forward Trevor Booker has played well in his absence, recording one double-double and grabbing at least seven rebounds eight times.
“He’s not ready to get on the floor, like Ronny is,” Wittman said. “I thought it was important to leave him at home. What he can do from a conditioning standpoint can much better be done at home.”