“I think so,” Dudley said following Washington’s shoot-around Wednesday morning. “No one has told me anything. I’m doing my routine like I’m playing. I did my full shoot-around so until they say, ‘No,’ I’m saying, ‘Yes.’”
Coach Randy Wittman has said he expects Dudley, 30, to be under a minutes restriction of some sort, though he must also balance preparing Dudley for the regular season with enough live action.
Dudley will likely log most of his minutes at power forward in Washington’s rebooted pace-and-space offense and emphasized conditioning will be the biggest challenge in his return.
The Wizards acquired Dudley from the Milwaukee Bucks in July for a heavily-protected second-round draft pick with the understanding that surgery was a likely possibility. An eight-year veteran, Dudley played through back pain for the final four months of last season. He tried rehabbing before deciding to undergo the procedure to repair his L5-S1 disk. Missing the beginning of the regular season was a possibility initially but he returned to practice last week and said he hasn’t felt pain in five weeks.
While Dudley is expected to be in uniform Wednesday, Nene and DeJuan Blair won’t be. Nene, who didn’t make the trip to Florida, has missed Washington’s last two games with a calf strain and Blair is dealing with another knee injury. Garrett Temple, however, is slated to make his return after missing four games with a hamstring injury.
Wizards cuts expected after trip: Teams around the league began trimming their rosters for the regular season last week but the Wizards aren’t expected to make their cuts until after their current road trip, which concludes in Montreal on Friday, because their roster is so depleted with injuries. Washington already has 15 players with guaranteed contracts, so barring a last-minute change, the five non-guaranteed training camp invitees — Toure’ Murry, Ish Smith, Josh Harrellson, Jaleel Roberts and Jaron Johnson — will be released.
Preseason on national TV: The Wizards will make a rare national television preseason appearance Wednesday when they face the Heat. The contest will be broadcast on ESPN and is slated for an 8 p.m. tip-off.