The Wizards expect to lean on Kevin Seraphin with Nene out for about six weeks. But they will have to wait at least one game for his services. The morning after the team learned that Nene would be sidelined with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, Seraphin showed up for the morning shootaround in full sweats, unable to participate because of a sore right knee.
Seraphin will not play on Tuesday, when the Wizards will attempt to extend their winning streak to four games against the Orlando Magic at Verizon Center. He said that he has been dealing with problems in his right knee for “a couple of games” but had been playing through the pain.
“Now, it kind of bothers me,” Seraphin said. “So that’s why I don’t play tonight. I won’t be out for long. It’s nothing, so we’ll see.”
Trevor Booker will get the start at power forward with both Nene and Seraphin sidelined. Seraphin developed swelling in his right knee nearly three months ago and was forced to sit out a Dec. 6 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in which both Nene and Martell Webster sustained injuries. When asked if he would be available when the Wizards play Toronto on Thursday, Seraphin replied, “We’ll see. We’ll see.”
With Nene out, Seraphin is the Wizards’ most skilled low post scoring aside from Marcin Gortat and has posted eight double-digit scoring games this season. Coach Randy Wittman called on Seraphin after Nene sprained his knee in a collision with Cleveland’s Jarrett Jack in the third quarter of the Wizards’ 96-83 victory. He scored four points and had four rebounds with a blocked shot in the second half.
The Wizards (28-28) are 1-6 without Nene this season and 21-16 with the Brazilian big man in the starting lineup. “We need him. It’s not good news,” Seraphin said. “It’s good news for the opportunity but it’s not good news for the team because he’s a big piece for the team. I’m really trying to get to the playoffs. Now, I just have to keep it up. We can’t have no excuse.”
Seraphin has been getting more consistent minutes this month after oscillating in and out of the rotation earlier in the season. The Wizards have gone 8-5 this season when Seraphin plays at least 15 minutes. He has only played 18 minutes with the Wizards’ four other starters – Gortat, John Wall, Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza – but the team has outscored opponents 36-18 in those five games.
“That’s a big opportunity. That’s what I’ve been asking for since the beginning of the season. Unfortunately, Nene is out and I have to take this opportunity and I have to do something with it,” Seraphin said. “I won’t do something new, just keep doing the same thing but do something good. rebound. Offensively, defense, what I’m supposed to do. I’ve been focused on that since the beginning of the season, but now, for sure, more. I have to do. If Nene is out, we have to start playing like he is here.”
The Wizards will also have to rely on each other, Seraphin said. “We have to keep playing, we build something. We build like a collective. We play as a team now and now we just have to keep playing. One man down but we have a goal. We can’t have any excuse and step out now, like, ‘Oh, Nene is out.’ We just have to keep playing hard.”