Ronny Turiaf was back with the team on Tuesday after being away the previous week. In that time, Turiaf visited a hand specialist in New York, his grandmother in his native Martinique for “personal reasons,” and then took care of some U.S. work visa problems.
The Wizards still don’t have a set date for Turiaf’s return from a broken left hand that has kept him sidelined for more than two months. “It’s probably going to be another week or so,” Coach Randy Wittman said. “We’ll get another check. It’s still not ready to take any contact right now.”
Turiaf broke his left hand in a loss to Boston on Jan. 1, but he said the Wizards’ medical and training staff has been especially cautious with him since he injured the same hand last summer while playing for the French national team.
“If was just me, choosing to play, I would’ve been back a long time ago,” Turiaf said. “They are putting the strain on myself, on me, because they know sometimes, I may not be the most rational guy when comes to help teammates and to do stuff.”
The Wizards (8-29) acquired Turiaf from the New York Knicks on the first day of training camp, with the hopes that he would be able to provide some veteran stability to a very young front line. But Turiaf hadn’t played more than 64 games in his previous two seasons, as he dealt with an assortment of injuries.
Turiaf has been working out regularly with Wizards strength and conditioning coach Drew Cleary, but said he is looking forward “to beating on someone else and not just air.” But his eagerness to come back and provide some shot-blocking and infectious energy has been tempered by a desire to have a lengthy career.
“The man upstairs, the great architect, whatever you want to call him, has plans for me and it’s just a matter of me just walking in the path that’s laid in front of me,” Turiaf said. “I know, somebody told me quite a long time ago when I was in college. ‘If you want to make God laugh, then tell him your plans.’ While I feel like it’s good right now, I want to go back, but He’s telling me, ‘Just be patient’ and in the bigger picture, I don’t want to have to deal with the same broken hand all the time.
“I’d rather take my time once and not have to worry about it, because this is not a career ending injury, but it’s something that can be very nagging for the rest of my life, if I don’t take care of it,” he said. “Unfortunately, it has to happen during a lockout season and now for someone like me that wants to play and help teammates, that’s life. That’s part of life.”
Turiaf already missed out on facing his former team, the Golden State Warriors, and will also sit out against his original team on Wednesday, when the Wizards host the Los Angeles Lakers. He certainly won’t come back before he is ready.
“It’s just a matter of time for things to fit perfectly,” Turiaf said. “It’s the same injury that I have in the summer, so I think that’s why it’s taking a bit longer, that’s very unusual. I’m just the picture perfect person for unusual stuff. Open-heart surgery, broken hand, same hand in six months or whatever. But nothing is going to stop me. That’s what success is all about. Just getting up every time and keep on moving forward.”