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The Curse O' Les Ex-Boulez?

Memo to Jarvis Hayes and/or DeShawn Stevenson: If either of you has the breakout season you truly expect and provide the fourth/fifth scoring option the Wizards have been needing the past two postseasons, re-sign with the team. Don't hesitate. Don't worry about the money. Don't leave for more. Just put your name on the dotted line. Stay in Washington.

Because anything can happen once you leave town. I don't know if it's the Wizards' cone-headed, wacky bearded mascot putting a hex on players or what, but when I read late yesterday that former Wizard and New York Knicks prized free agent haul Jared Jeffries was going to be out three to eight weeks with a fractured left wrist, I had to wonder what's going on. My immediate thought was, now that the Wizards are a perennial playoff team, does the The Curse O' Les Boulez work the other way? Is there now -- with apologies to curse creator Tony Kornheiser -- The Curse O' Les Ex-Boulez?

This is the second season that the Wizards' top priority in free agency bolted to another team only to wind up getting injured. Last season, Larry Hughes sign a $70-million deal with the Cavaliers then broke the middle finger in his shooting hand during the preseason. Now Jeffries signs with the Knicks for $30 million and suffers a broken wrist during the preseason.

Hughes tried to play through his injury for two months before he eventually had surgery to repair the hand - and another surgery to repair the repair - and missed 45 games. He never fully recovered or played at the level warranted the humongous contract last season but appears to be on the road to resembling the Hughes of two seasons ago. The Akron Beacon Journal reports that while Hughes still can't make a fist with his right hand without appearing to make an obscene gesture and the hand may never be 100 percent again, he is playing at high level in the early going. After just three preseason games, Hughes is averaging 11.7 points and shooting 56 percent from the floor in just under 20 minutes.

But back to Jeffries. Jeffries suffered the injury during the first half against the New Jersey Nets on Friday, when he landed on his non-shooting hand after he was fouled. Jeffries continued to play, finishing with six points, five rebounds and three assists, but an MRI revealed a non-displaced fracture. He was set to start at small forward in New York this season, but his Madison Square Garden debut will have to wait. Jeffries, however, said it won't be long. "I always heal fast," Jeffries told reporters in New York, possibly hoping that he will back in time to welcome the Wizards on Nov. 14.

By Michael Lee  |  October 17, 2006; 11:44 AM ET
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Next: Gilbert Arenas: "I'm Not Quirky."

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