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Wizards Practice Notes

Notes from a Wizards practice in which no one got hurt, no one (that we saw) got in a fight, and the Wizards didn't lose.

[Note: Do you realize that since March 7, D.C.'s major professional sports teams are a combined 13-37 in league play? That's a winning percentage of .260. That means that the Nats are hardly even bringing down the group average.]

1. Caron Butler's Presence

The Wizards practiced on the VC floor instead of their practice court today. There were lots of smiles. Caron Butler was out there in practice gear and cast; when we were allowed in, he was feeding the ball one-handed to DeShawn Stevenson and Calvin Booth, who were playing one-on-one. Caron was asked why he is always around this arena.

"Hey man, I'm practicing. I'm participating," he said. "I mean, you've go to be around that whole aura of the gym. You've got to be around the fellas, you've got to be around all that just to keep your juices flowing. That's why I'm just sticking around."

I asked about Gil's lack of "just sticking around."

"He's still been around, as far as texting everybody, calling 'em, just sending us little quirky messages," Butler said. "He's still been Gil, even though he's not here physically."

Quirky little messages? Care to elaborate?

"Nah man, I don't want to read it tomorrow," Butler said.

C'mon, just one quirky little message.

"He told me he loved me," Butler said. "Put that in there."

So I guess we don't need to worry about whether Gil and Caron are ok with each other.

2. Caron Butler's Hand

He is using an Exogen bone-healing device. "Kind of like sound waves to the bone," he said. He said the last X-ray looked better, and he hopes to get his cast off by Monday. And then what?

"See what happens," he said.

The experts are still telling him second round, he's still hoping earlier. Ivan Carter asked if he could even grip a ball with his right hand.

"We'll have to see as soon as it come off," Butler said. "Muscles lose memory fast, so I'll have to see how it feels."

Ivan Carter asked if he would need a special brace or padding.

"I'm pretty sure if I tell them I'm capable of playing they would find something, some type of Styrofoam or something," he said.

He also said he's been working with his left hand since the injury, doing all the drills he normally does, except strictly with his left hand. Caron was asked if this means he'll re-emerge with a wicked left hand.

"I'm trying to tell you," he said.

3. AD's Back

A lot better. Yesterday Antonio Daniels couldn't run without severe pain. Today he could. He could run a bit, he could shoot, he could change directions. Will he play tomorrow?

"I don't know," he said. "We'll see."

What did his gut say, he was asked.

"My gut always tells me to play," he said. "Always. But sometimes I don't know if it's better to use your gut or use your head. So, we'll see."

"I think just watching him today and working out, he looks good," Eddie Jordan said. "And we really need him. So if he's ready to go we'll play him and we'll watch his minutes."

4. The Wiz's Talent

"We'll see if we have enough talent," Jordan said. "And that's what it boils down to, you have to have talent on the floor, you have to make the plays. But sometimes just hard guts-out work will overcome some of that lack of talent. So hopefully we play harder, longer than our opponents."

5. The Playoff Beards

Michael Ruffin, you'll recall, has several weeks worth of growth on his face, and is thinking about entering genuine playoff beard territory. The scruff contrasts nicely with the freshly shaved dome, in my humble opinion. Like so many bloggers, I'm also starting a playoff beard, although I'm not sure which team is at play here. The Wizards, I guess. The makeup lady at Washington Post Live is gonna earn her keep this week.

Anyhow, Mike Hall had a bit of stubble on his chin, so I asked if he was starting a playoff beard of his own.

"I've been trying to grow a beard all my life, sir," he said. "This is not on purpose. I just haven't hit puberty yet."

6. Balls

Some NBA reps came to practice today with 10 basketballs, featuring different colors, different pebbling, different pebble heights, etc. All were composite leather. This is part of the survey process to help create a new new new ball for the future. The players got to test all the balls, wet and dry, and then score them from 1-5 in a bunch of different categories, including color, which seems a strange thing to ask the players, but after the last fiasco I guess they'd ask the players how they like the smell of the new balls.

Anyhow, you'd think this would make for hilarious blogging fodder, but really all I learned is that Jarvis Hayes prefers a browner ball to the more orangey-types.

7. Random Stat

Dwight Howard has reached double-digit rebounds seven games in a row. He's had previous streaks this season of five games, eight games, six games, seven games, eight games and 10 games. The Wiz haven't had anyone reach double-digit rebounds five games in a row.

By Dan Steinberg  |  April 16, 2007; 2:48 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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who woulda thought the Nats are on par with the rest of the area teams right now. and one is even, SOMEHOW, going to the playoffs under all 100+ scenarios, of course they lose in more scenarios than there are!

Posted by: Sway | April 16, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Of course it would be hard to match up with anybody in the league with last night's lineup. That might excuse a few losses but it doesn't answer for all of the team's problems. Everybody seemed to be moving at half-speed and countless passes were arriving at the knees of their intended recipient. As soon as Andray checked in the tempo began to change. He might not always be completely in control but he and Etan were the only ones really pushing their games in the first half.

Posted by: Unsilent Majority | April 16, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Steinberg, were you invited to the now-infamous Masters pool? If not, are you offended?

Posted by: Joe | April 16, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

This team needs a lot more players like Caron. Players with some heart, some pride, and that hate to lose. Definitely need to update the nastiness and toughness quotient next year.

Posted by: Mike in SD | April 16, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

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