So a key Wizard got injured, weird
"Sometimes it's just frustrating," Brendan Haywood said last week, when Caron Butler hurt his knee. "It feels like we're cursed."
Well, that was last week. Then came Wednesday night's loss to the Heat, when Mike MIller went down with a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder--"Felt like it slid a little bit on me and went numb," Miller said, describing the injury.
Flip Saunders said he'll likely be gone 7-to-10 days. But even if it really is that brief of a recovery, this means that within the season's first six games, 60 percent of the Wiz starters will have missed at least one game with an injury. The two who have been spared are Gilbert Arenas, who missed most of the last two years with rotted knee, and Brendan Haywood, who was sidelined for 75 games last season. Does that really seem fair?
"Any time somebody goes down for our team, you get a little scared, because sometimes little things that don't seem like they should be big injuries end up turning into season-[ending] injuries," Haywood said on Wednesday. "If you would have seen my injury in training camp last year, there's no way you think I'm out for the season. That's like a routine blocked shot. You know, a couple years ago when Gerald Wallace falls into Gil's knee, it doesn't look like he really falls into it that hard, but he ends up being gone for a year and change. So these type of things keep happening. Even Antawn's injury, you're first you you see it, you're like, 'Ok, it's a sprain.' Then he's out for the first month of the season or however long he's out. So these type of things keep mounting up, and you just ask yourself why."
That's correct. You just ask yourself why. This is a keen understanding of the plight of the Washington pro basketball fan. Or the Washington sports fan, I guess.
You could easily argue that Alex Ovechkin and Chris Cooley are the two most popular athletes in D.C. right now; both are sidelined indefinitely. Tony Plush might have been the Nats' most popular player when he got shelved. And forty percent of the Wizards' starters are gone.
"It's always frustrating, scary," Butler said. "You know, I just hope for the best. Say a prayer for him tonight, and I'm pretty sure the whole city doing that. He's family; hopefully he come back and bounce back from it."
"It's kind of tough, but we've been in this position before," DeShawn Stevenson said.
"We've just got to keep playing until [Miller and Jamison] get healthy," Arenas said, in his new head-down, soft-voiced, no-eye-contact media posture. "We're just trying to keep the boat going until everybody gets healthy. You know, once everybody gets healthy, then we'll do what we have to do."
That's what Haywood said as well, minus the boat part. You just wonder when "once everybody gets healthy" is actually going to happen. Or if, I guess.
"I think we still can be a top 10 team in the NBA," Haywood said. "Right now, we're not at full strength. We're missing 20 points and 10 rebounds out of our lineup. You take that out of any lineup and teams are gonna struggle. Antawn Jamison wasn't here, Mike Miller was hurt for a large part of the game, so I think we're doing well. We're trying to survive while 'Twan's not here, and when we get everybody back, then we'll evaluate ourselves come closer to the All-Star break. But it's very early in the season, so I think D.C. should be excited about what we're doing. And we're going to continue to try to give them a product to be proud of."
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