While the Washington Wizards are engaging in “very competitive practices” at the start of training camp, according to Coach Scott Brooks, two of the team’s newest players have been reduced to bystanders.

Dwight Howard and Austin Rivers did not participate in the team’s Wednesday practice. For Howard, who’s dealing with back soreness, it was his second full day off the court. Though Rivers went through some of the first day of training camp until neck spasms held him out of full-contact action, he was sidelined on Wednesday for the entire session except for end-of-practice sprints.


Newcomer Austin Rivers is joining Dwight Howard on the sideline. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

Rivers’s ailment does not appear to be serious and he could return to the court as early as Thursday. A projection for Howard’s return is not as clear.

“Progressing well, felt much better today. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow,” Brooks said about Rivers. “Hopefully, get him on the court soon. Dwight’s the same way, just progressing but probably a couple more days before we really see how he feels there.”

In Howard’s absence, backup center Ian Mahinmi has filled in with the starting five. Though the injury has hindered the Wizards from building a foundation with their new teammate, John Wall described Mahinmi as a capable stand-in.

“We just don’t have . . . chemistry yet,” Wall said. “Ian’s been doing a good job of stepping in there and playing. He’s more healthier than what he was last year, so he’s been doing a great job for us.”