Trevor Booker is still angling for his first taste of April basketball. So far, the month has been elusive for Booker in his first two seasons.
Booker has missed the past 12 games because of a left foot ailment but has been working out with teammates in recent days with the hope that he can return for at least the final two games — and he is still pushing to make it back for Monday’s game against Charlotte.
“I’m not sure if it’s going to happen this season,” Booker said, when asked about coming back. “I’m going to see how it feels in warm-ups today and go from there. Hopefully I don’t have any pain. If I feel good, I’m going to give it a go.”
Booker doesn’t want this season to end the way the last one did, when he was forced to miss the final 11 games because of a fractured bone in his right foot. He hasn’t played this month after aggravating a left foot injury March 30 in the first quarter of the Wizards’ 97-76 win over Philadelphia. He said he had been playing with plantar fasciitis for nearly two months before he was forced to exit in that game, but didn’t tell anyone that he was hurting.
“I just figured it would go away and it just started getting worse, so I had to tell somebody and eventually it just popped on me,” Booker said. “It’s tough, but at the same time, you’ve got to take care of your body and look forward to next season. The season didn’t end the way I wanted this season. I’ve just got to find a way to stay healthier next year.”
Booker is averaging career highs of 8.4 points and 6.5 rebounds. He earned the starting power forward job Feb. 4, recording five double doubles over his next 27 games. In 32 starts total this season, Booker averaged 9.7 points and 7.8 rebounds.
When his rookie season ended prematurely, Booker elected to play in Israel to make up for lost time. He experienced a setback while trying to push himself for a return earlier this month, so he is also trying to balance caution with a desire to compete.
He is also disappointed that there is a chance he might not play again this season. “It’s frustrating,” he said. “Second straight season, but you can’t think about it too much. Just put it behind you, keep working hard and keep progressing.”
Nene also suffered plantar fasciitis in his left foot against Philadelphia, but he has managed to come back without any complications and helped the Wizards win games against Milwaukee and Miami. Coach Randy Wittman said he would continue to bring use Nene as a reserve and restrict his minutes.
“It’s easier to control his minutes that way than as a starter,” Wittman said. “He’s fine with it, and I think we’ll probably do that these last three games. It’s easier for me to monitor it.”