A few hundred miles away from teammates, from the comfort of his couch in the District, Kevin Seraphin watched the Wizards’ season opening, 94-84, loss to Cleveland on Tuesday made a notable observation.
“They need me,” Seraphin said sheepishly, and with a laugh after practice Thursday.
Hard to dispute him after the Wizards were abused on the boards by a floppy-haired, rebounding machine in Anderson Varejao (a career-high 23 rebounds) and had no interior presence offensively (they took 32 three-pointers and shot 35.7 percent from the field overall).
But the Wizards may actually have Seraphin back by Saturday for their home opener at Verizon Center against Boston. The 6-foot-10 third-year big man completed his first full practice since straining his right calf during a preseason win in Cleveland on Oct. 13.
Seraphin revealed that he was originally slated to miss four to five weeks because of the injury, but he is prepared for a quicker return after training and rehabilitating for about “five to six hours” each day over the past few weeks. After practice, Serapin planned on having some fluid removed from his calf, which should help him get back on the floor quicker.
“I really feel good,” Seraphin said. “I might play Saturday. I can play, I can run. I can do everything. I’m so glad.”
With Nene out indefinitely and John Wall not expected to come back until the end of the month, Coach Randy Wittman is excited about the possibility of getting the team at least one step closer to full strength with Seraphin, who averaged 15.5 points and 7.0 rebounds while starting the final 15 games last season.
“He can help,” Wittman said. “He’s a big body. He can also provide some scoring down there. Where you can throw the ball inside and play off of him. The best case scenario for me is to play inside out and not have to strictly rely on making or missing jump shots, which I think we had to in Cleveland.”
Wittman said the team still plans to remain cautious with Seraphin and wouldn’t make a decision until he sees Seraphin complete another full practice without complications.
“You don’t want one of those things being something that lingers all year long,” Wittman said. “Calf, hamstring, those things are funny things. So you want to really do things more on the side of safety with those, especially on a big guy, with as much weight as they carry.
“We’ll see tomorrow, where he is and how he feels moving forward,” Wittman said. “Obviously, it was his first big test since being hurt. We’ll see if there is any soreness or anything. We’ll probably have to wait a little bit longer. But we’ll see. I thought he moved pretty good.”
Martell Webster said Seraphin’s presence was felt throughout practice. He was often the first big man down the floor on sprints and delivered a few hard screens.
“Strong kid,” Webster said. “Now it’s just a point of getting him back into game shape. You can run on a treadmill, swim as much as you want. But there’s nothing like going 94 feet. Stop, slide, jump, slide, run back on transition. Getting him back into that shape will be important but he looked great today…Injuries is the beast of this beautiful game. We had three [injuries] and now we have two. Getting Kevin back means a lot to us.”
Seraphin was injured in the first quarter of the Wizards’ win on Oct. 13 when he attempted to make a cut back on defense and said his leg went, “Clack!”
“I was on one leg and I was like, ‘I can’t play anymore,’ ” Seraphin said. “Being on the side while your teammates play, that’s really hard. I always ask Nene and John [Wall], ‘How do you do it every day?’ You have to be prepared mentally. Being on the side when you want to play so bad. That was tough for me.”