Butler out, Blatche to start

Caron Butler will not play tonight and is "probably" out for tomorrow night's game at Toronto with a left hip flexor strain. The injury happened during Sunday's loss at Milwaukee when Butler scored a career-high 40 points while almost willing the Wiz to a win. Andray Blatche will start in Caron's place and will likely start tomorrow night as well.

Obviously, the loss of Butler is huge. The team was swept out of the first round of the playoffs by the Cavs last spring without Butler and Gilbert Arenas and here we are again. I didn't get a chance to talk with Caron so I can't gauge how serious it is but Eddie Jordan made it sound as though Caron simply needs a couple of days to get it right so he can play Friday against Utah. I guess the idea is to not let it become an injury that lingers for several weeks.

By Ivan Carter |  January 29, 2008; 6:09 PM ET
Previous: Wiz and Raptors | Next: Butler update, onto Toronto

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Not good news at all. It'll be tough going with Butler. Hell, it would have been tough going with him. On the flip side, if they lose this game maybe it'll be the end of all the incessant pining for "tall ball."

Posted by: kalorama | January 29, 2008 6:24 PM

The Curse Lives!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2008 6:25 PM

This is awful. No Tuff Juice. No Gilbert. No chance, people. AB. We need a career night.
What's the over/under for Antawn Jamison's point total tonight? 35? 40?

Posted by: misguided bullets | January 29, 2008 6:27 PM

He did look really gimpy at the end of the Milwaukee game, like he was gutting through some sort of pain. Not gimpy like PULP FICTION gimpy, just to clarify. Just, sort of, like, athletic-pain-gimpy.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2008 6:28 PM

Ouch. Well this is AB's chance. Hopefully he will take the Bosh challenge as a shot to man up with one of the hottest players in the league right now. I get the feeling that if he is really lost early on he may not find his way. I hope Eddie lets him play through any rough patches and doesn't go to Songalia.

Posted by: The Yawn Dude | January 29, 2008 6:29 PM

Tall Ball only works with Caron in the back court....any ball without Caron tall or small SUCKS!

Posted by: Donk | January 29, 2008 6:30 PM

I hope AJ plays less minutes tonight, not more minutes because Caron is out.

The reserves need to improve by the time the playoffs roll around. The only way that will happen is with coaching and minutes.

We've overplayed the Big 3 for years, and the same thing keeps happening. We should know better by now.

Posted by: Izman | January 29, 2008 6:31 PM


Damn, damn, damn....

You see, that's what happens when Caron Butler has to carry the team on his back, in Milwaukee of all places.

But you know what?

No one cares.

We certainly didn't care the last time the Wiz played the Raps when Bosh was out.

And we didn't care that Michael Redd was out the other night....until the Wiz lost of course.

Move on and learn. What else can we do?

Posted by: TruthAboutIt.net | January 29, 2008 6:40 PM

This will give the young guy some quality minutes and, more importantly, an opportunity to get some shots and confidence. Without Caron in there, the focus will definitely be on AJ and that should open up shots for RM and AB. We will also have to run more because AB is more effective in the open court. Maybe BTH will finally get 15-20 shots tonight. I'd be willing to bet my house (again) that if we ask him for 20 points and 10 rebounds, he can get it for us.

Posted by: mark | January 29, 2008 7:00 PM

Hopefully this will remind people of the coach Eddie Jordan really is and stop all this "coach of the year" nonsense. Jordan plays his starters too much every season and they always get hurt right around this time. We've seen this too many times. Hopefully Ernie Grunfeld has, too.

Posted by: JS | January 29, 2008 7:11 PM

Sorry guys I just had to respond to JS comments at 7/11 pm about EJ, I am truly sick and tired of certain people ragging on EJ'S coaching he is dammed if he does and you know the rest, most of you don't have a clue about this team or what Eddie has had to deal with since he took over hell,they are lucky to be above five hundred even with a healthy CB AND AJ,Who made the trade for Darius(tippy toes,bad back,brick shooting)Songalia who has failed to get EJ any help whatsoever? EG THATS WHO! Most NBA people in the know, realize EJ has done tremendous job with what he has had to work with so do us a favor JS keep your fair weather feelings to yourself!!!.

Posted by: DARGREGMAG@AOL.COM | January 29, 2008 7:30 PM

Blatche looks great, this is awesome. The Wizards are gonna need to rebound a whole lot better though.

Posted by: The Yawn Dude | January 29, 2008 7:32 PM

Sorry guys, I just had to respond to DARGEGMAG@AOL.COM's comments at 7:30pm. I've watched just about every game for the last three years. Let's take a look at how well "EJ" takes advantage of young talent (this so called no help that you speak of). He did a terrible job of getting Steve Blake, and Juan Dixon on the floor. After all, they haven't been successful anywhere else. He plays tippy toes as you call him at the 5, OVER Andray Blathce who is the superior athlete and more sized to fit the position. He has TWO starters in the top ten of the league in mins. per game with a roster packed with talent. If the wizards are No. 2 in the league behind Boston for most 20 pt. vitories, explain to me why the starters need to play the last three minutes of the fourth quarter, EVERY GAME.

Posted by: Mojo | January 29, 2008 7:53 PM

Quick EJ, rush Gilby back!

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 29, 2008 8:12 PM

The Wizards are playing well without Caron! Lets trade him for a big man...I'm thinking Vin Baker or possibly Chris "Birdman" Andersen

Posted by: MDBaller1 | January 29, 2008 9:02 PM

MDBaller1

I agree. Let's trade him for Kwame Brown!

:)

Posted by: rurikbird | January 29, 2008 9:15 PM

Is it too early to say that the Wizards are better without Gilbert Arenas AND Caron Butler?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2008 9:24 PM

3 guys on him and Parker still nails that 3 to tie it. Unreal. The Wiz can't let this one get away.

Posted by: The Yawn Dude | January 29, 2008 9:28 PM

Les BouleS are so good, I think they can play other teams 4 on 5.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 29, 2008 9:37 PM

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Oh, wait . . . we won. Heh heh heh.

Posted by: 7snider7 | January 29, 2008 9:49 PM

Great, gutsy bounce back win following a really tough loss. The team showed a lot of mental toughness to pull this one out. Hopefully all the people who'd been McGuire a disappointment the last couple of weeks have something to chew on.

So what's the over/under on how long before we see the first post complaining that Haywood didn't play enough?

Posted by: kalorama | January 29, 2008 9:57 PM

"If the wizards are No. 2 in the league behind Boston for most 20 pt. vitories, explain to me why the starters need to play the last three minutes of the fourth quarter, EVERY GAME."

Because every time he takes them out late in a game with a double digit lead, the other team makes a run, forcing him to put the starters back in and scramble to make up the lost ground. That's what happens when you've got a bench made up of rookies, neophytes, and journeymen.

Posted by: kalorama | January 29, 2008 10:03 PM

AB and AJ stepped up big time, with AJ getting 20 boards. All star for sure.

I hope AB showed that he shouldn't feel the pressure to prove himself to EJ each time or be yanked out of the game. EJ should let AB grow into his role.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 29, 2008 10:09 PM

Alright all you Dom McGuire bashers. He was not exactly getting a lot of minutes before.

He certainly contibuted tonight. Until he develops somthing of an offensive game (probably in the offseason), he can at least contribute as much as Ruffin did last year in the meantime.

Posted by: Tim | January 29, 2008 10:09 PM

Maybe BTH will finally get 15-20 shots tonight. I'd be willing to bet my house (again) that if we ask him for 20 points and 10 rebounds, he can get it for us.

Posted by: mark | January 29, 2008 07:00 PM

How do we contact you to take you up on that bet?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2008 10:45 PM

Props to the team for a tough it out win!

McGuire contributed something real for the first time in his career. A couple of those rebounds were just plain mean!

No matter what your opinion is of EJ's bench usage. It certainly has contributed to the health or lack thereof of the big three. So, does he have nothing to go to or does he not consistently give these guys a role and minutes to go with it? I think it's a little of both, but more of the latter. Coaches like Phil Jackson seem good at DEVELOPING his bench!

Final point - AJ and CB were in the game during the final 3 mins of a blowout game not too long ago. There was no sign of fight left in the team and I was just waiting for an injury...it was mind boggling to me at the time.

Anyway, nice game boys! AJ is the next to wear down/ I mean go down. Fingers crossed though!

Posted by: Rob P | January 29, 2008 10:45 PM

No Tuff Juice. No Gilbert. No chance, people.

Posted by: misguided bullets | January 29, 2008 06:27 PM

Posted by the man who is his name.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 29, 2008 10:49 PM

"Coaches like Phil Jackson seem good at DEVELOPING his bench!"

When he was winning those titles with the Lakers and Bulls, his bench was almost always well-stocked with seasoned vets and guys who were proven and experienced in their roles. The first time he had a bench filled with rookies and youngsters was his first season back in L.A. after Shaq left. The Lakers barely made the playoffs, got ousted in the first round, and Kobe played 40 mpg.

Posted by: kalorama | January 29, 2008 10:58 PM

Well, it looks like some of the nonsense on this site has died down a bit. I knew you folks had it in you. I needed to get my mind off of Snyder and his idiocy.

The match-up with the 2 bigs was tough tonight and I got the idea that EJ wasn't sure if he wanted Haywood in there. But clearly Songalia was not the answer.

We could nit pick at some of EJ's decisions but really people, by and large we need to get off his back. Nobody imagined us being where we are with Gilbert down like this.

Was great seeing DMac do his thing on the defenseive end. With Caron out he knew he would get some prime time minutes. It is amazing how better a guy plays when he is relaxed, rather than figuring his first mistake will mean he's back to the bench. His offensive game needs a lot of work but his defensive ability is quite evident. Just needs confidence and experience. Blatche was solid. I initially thought Bosh would go for 45 tonight but he played hard.

Calderon had his way with Daniels though. Drive down the lane any time he wanted to. The reality is that Gilbert has the quicks to do what AD merely tries to do. Does Gilbert have the commitment and the desire?

Even the ESPN folks on "coast to coast" gave the Zards 5 minutes of positive pub.

Big picture: We are a pretty tight team that plays team oriented ball. We have 2 trips west ahead of us where they can bond even more. We have a deepening bench. We have Gilbert returning. Should be a very, very interesting spring.

Posted by: BmoreRev | January 29, 2008 11:05 PM

It's funny to read through the blog tonight with the usual detractors about several of the players and EJ's coaching ability. Then as the game goes on, every one of those people either jumps on the bandwagon or stops commenting.

Posted by: Larry Roberts | January 29, 2008 11:09 PM

Is it too early to say that the Wizards are better without Gilbert Arenas AND Caron Butler?

Posted by: | January 29, 2008 09:24 PM
-----------------------

Great game tonight. Pretty good ball movement. Some excellent passing. Sharing the ball. I think you're right.... The Wizards are a better team without "Gilby" and "Carony". They have a PERFECT RECORD this year without them.

Yeah - I say we trade Caron while his value is high. Get a big expiring contract, like K. Brown from L.A. (Hey, that trade works!!)

Or perhaps that elusive low post scoring threat that ESPN, SI, and everyone on this blog says they need...(Zach Randolph of NY?)...

Trade "Gilby" for another low post scoring threat......Elton Brand!

Package some young talent (Blatche, Young, and say Pecherov, or McGuire) and try to get a "real" point guard.... Like Stephan Marbury..

While we're at it, FIRE Jordan and hire a "hall of fame" coach - Larry Brown. He took a sorry Philly team to the finals..so he should be able to do more with the Wizards. He certainly would be able to better develop the young bench guys, than Eddie Jordan has. Oh, whoops, I just traded them..... Oh well, at least his rotations would make more sense.

Hey - then they'd be the New York Knicks!!!


Posted by: Rook | January 29, 2008 11:45 PM

No one complains when Allen Iverson and LeBron James play so many minutes, so why does it matter that the Wizards need Butler and Jamison on the floor so much? They're without Arenas already.

I also agree that the Wiz have a pretty good bench, but that doesn't mean they can sustain leads against other teams all the time.

An 82-game season is pretty demanding, and over that stretch injuries happen and are part of the game. Quit calling out Jordan for doing what he has to do to win games.

Posted by: Krem | January 29, 2008 11:49 PM

The Ghost of Michael Ruffin was in the arena tonight. Pretty scary stuff. Think Caron will catch some hell for running to the lockerroom just a bit too early???

Barno out

Posted by: Barno | January 30, 2008 12:18 AM

Caron is clearly holding back Dom and Blatche... I wonder if he will be willing to be a sixth man when he comes back. I can't believe you guys want to trade him though! Man, crazy how fast people change on you...

Anyway, I bet Caron, won't come back too early and screw this team over like gilby did! Look where we are because of Gilby!

I could see EJ as coach of the year... for some other sport that isn't basketball!

lolololy

I bet EJ plays caron and AJ so much because he wants them to make the all star game. If he would play them both 3 minutes less, we could compete for a championship!

Posted by: i smoke | January 30, 2008 2:11 AM

I don't know about you, but i would rather develop the bench than try to win so many games!

I don't care if we lose every regular season game AS LONG AS WE get past the first round!

Caron should fake a toe injury so he can be healthy for the playoffs. That is probably what gilbert is doing!

I trade an injured gilby for an injured Jason Kidd or even an injured Jermain Oneal!

Posted by: i smoke | January 30, 2008 2:17 AM

Barno

The ghost of Ruff may have been there... but we had AB, AJ, and D-Mac as the Wiz version of the Ghost Busters!! The team sure showed a lot of character to hold on in OT. I must admit that I figuered we were done when Parker's prayer went in...

Posted by: PK1 | January 30, 2008 2:17 AM

I'm putting that game in as an "almost loss".
It is better than a "nearly lost" but worse than a shoulda not been so close... more of these wins and I might have to add a "shoulda lost"

Posted by: i smoke | January 30, 2008 2:19 AM

D-Mac was a beast tonight on the boards, 10 rebs. in 20 min. I think we all got a chance to see what he's capable of doing for this team with consistent minutes. Those 2 off. rebs. he had in OT were huge. We don't win this game without him tonight.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2008 3:34 AM

2 of those rebounds should be considered steals...

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2008 3:38 AM

Well, we didn't ask BTH for 20 and 10 tonight. Guarding Bosh is impossible because of the foot speed advantage Bosh has. AB is quick and look what he did to AB. BTh probably would have fouled out in 5 minutes if he stayed on Bosh the whole game. I guess I get to keep my house.

Posted by: mark | January 30, 2008 7:38 AM

Is this the famous "Skins Insider" Barno? Good to see you over here. Like the 'Beat Reporter' stuff.
Anyway, I would also like to see the starters get more rest but it's not hard to see why EJ plays them so much. Every time he takes them out, the other team goes on a run. It happened again last night when Songaila, AB, NY, etc were on the floor. Maybe we need to get the subs into the games in the second and third periods and let the starters close the halves out. At this rate, we're gonna either burn out CB and AJ so they're worn down and ineffective for the playoffs or they will get hurt. It's happened every year. In case no one has mentioned it recently, Darius Songaila is below average and should be our 15th man...behind Wilks (who was cut a few weeks ago)

Posted by: mark | January 30, 2008 7:45 AM

Great game last night! Glad to see the Wiz pull it out! I am sure most thought it would be an automatic loss without Butler. DMAC did his thing last night. I was so glad to see him play and produce. Blatche was in rare form as well. We gave him and DMAC a well deserved ovation when they left the game. It was a great confidence booster for the bench. The phone booth was rocking. What a game indeed. Tonight will be interesting. I was just hoping for at least a split. We got one, hope we can pull this one out tonight. Go WIZ!

BTW, love your post BMoreRev. Your assesment is right on point.

Posted by: Lady Wizz | January 30, 2008 7:58 AM

As for Dom's offensive game, I think some work with Hopola will cure what ails him offensively. People here kept saying trade him but I saw what he did in the summer league and knew he could contribute. He just needed some minutes to booost his confidence and he was a beast on the boards. It some times appeared that his arms had elastisity the way they stretched and grabbed those rebounds! It was great watching Caron give all of the bench mob pep talks and giving them their props when they came to the bench. Great game, dramatic win!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 30, 2008 8:02 AM

Great win, fine effort by Blatche and DMac in particular, but the 24/20 from AJ was truly huge. I know the coaches voted Monday for All-Star subs but if that effort doesn't somehow get 'Tawn to the Big Easy there is just no justice.

The Raptors will be fighting mad tonight for sure. Anything can happen with this Wizards team, though...

Get better for the Jazz game, Caron!

Posted by: khrabb | January 30, 2008 8:14 AM

Great win, especially since the Wiz had to contend with some of the worst officiating I've ever seen in an NBA game. At times, I felt like a fan at a pro wrestling match, where a referee being "conveniently blind" is part of the show. Bosh scored so many points because he got away with so many offensive fouls and got the benefit of so many phantom foul calls. But give him credit -- he saw early on what was happening and he took full advantage of it by playing extremely agressively.

Posted by: dzl | January 30, 2008 8:33 AM

The Wiz stepped up last night, which almost makes up for them sh!tting the bed against the Bucks. But not really.

Even though he shouldnt be, D Mac is still the 11th man off of the bench against most teams as long as CB is healthy. I wouldnt mind him getting some Darius's minutes, but EJ is loyal to his veterans, good or bad.

Welcome back i smoke.

Hello Herb. I'm glad you got some recognition with some of the comments wanting us to trade GA and CB.

Posted by: JSchon | January 30, 2008 8:42 AM

Let's not forget DeShawn's contributions last night. His five triples helped us big time. I also like the fact that he took it to the rack a couple of times instead of settling for the outside jumper.

I wonder if DMac will get similar playing time tonight?

Posted by: The AntiDCMan | January 30, 2008 9:00 AM

Mason had a good game too. He hit a couple of clutch shots and had that nice drive and kick out to DeShawn in OT. I agree with you on the horrible refs dzl. The Wizards definately did not get any home calls.

Posted by: The Yawn Dude | January 30, 2008 9:13 AM

Great win and great team effort. A lot of people have given props to AB, AJ DM but the player I think who deserve the most was AD. I think he was the glue and the veteran that he is kept his composure when the Raps were rallying.

On a side note, I agree with Rob P's assessment on Phil Jackson. That's why Phil is considered as a great coach because he not only utilize his all-star BUT also develope his bench. I'll just reserve my judgemnt to EJ and the team at the end of the season as the Wiz scheadule from this week to end of March is brutal and we can end up between 6th to 8th seed.

Posted by: Fortune Teller | January 30, 2008 9:29 AM

Rook and the rest, so funny, I loved the "then we'd be the Knicks" line. Bottem line as B-Rev said, This is developing into a team. When this team gets all of it's best players available it could be a real threat.

Daniels works hard but quick points eat him alive. Mason gets regularly skewered on this site, but he should get some real credit for the job he did last night. I don't think the Wiz would have gotten that win without him.

DMac, Nice job off the bench last night. The guy needs another off season to work on his game, but he's going to be a real keeper. He may get some time on the west coast trip chasing around some of the three ballers we'll face.

Just like the back to back against Boston come out loose and put the pressure on them tonight. The Wiz already got the split without two Allstars.

Speaking of stars, isn't that Caron getting all self important with all those nick names in that latest Wiz commercial? But one name they didn't use was CBut, must have been an oversight... I think Caron's all about the self promotion now... Can't even type that with a straight face!

88'er where do I go to get a signed copy of the Post? I guess you'll be doing Washington Post live as one of their stand ins soon. And if you do well quest spots on PTI will be next. Then we can all say we knew you when you were...Well, you know...

Posted by: GM | January 30, 2008 9:31 AM

GM, you're a loser, and a corny one at that.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 30, 2008 10:04 AM

HEY JS happy now? I thought EJ did a great job with the bench and matchup situations last night,since basketball is a game of matchups he made good use of situational subsitutions despite several obvious mismatches,Calderon vs.Daniels,Bosh vs Haywood,Blatche,and Tippy Toes(Darius Songalia)you mentioned Juan Dixon and Steve Blake and EJ's misuse of them when they were Wizards I thought that was a cheap shot at EJ given the teams situation at that time EJ's done a great job with this squad despite all the handicaps.

Posted by: DARGREGMAG@AOL.COM | January 30, 2008 10:08 AM

it is idiotic to discuss Eddie's "overuse " of Jamison & Butler in the context of Butler's injury. He hurt himself taking a fall in an overtime game in which he scored 40 and did everything but sweep the floors and sell the cokes. Should Eddie have "rested" Butler during the OT? How ridiculous.

Last night Jamison was playing on fumes in the last few minutes of regulation and the OT but Eddie had no choice but to play his best player when he dressed 9 players in a close game.

I was at the game and not only did DMac get 6 or 7 offensive rebounds but he tipped at least 4-5 balls to retain possession. It was his breakout performance and if he never gets great skills with teh ball in his hands, at worst he will be a more athletic and quicker version of Ruffin. At best this kid has to potential to be a Rodman type of player. For now he needs to pass the ball out of his hands however whenever it come to him!

Posted by: arnie | January 30, 2008 10:16 AM

Was at the game, and the excitement level was the best I have seen there in quite a while.
McGuire was a beast. His rebounds were all contested, mostly against 2-3 Raptors. He was soaring, very quick hops.
On the down side, how much longer can EJ waste minutes on Songalia...he is in way over his head.
At the most he should spell Aj at the 2. He is too small and to slow and can not jump to be playing 5. Ridiculous signing by EG.
AB was marvelous, and when he got his offensive confidence he showed a complete repertoire of moves. He was the only one with a chance of adequately guarding Bosh.
Agree that refereeeing was embarrassing. Makes one wonder about the credibility of the refs in the NBA. They were consistently calling for the Raptors, with each replay contesting the validity of the calls.
Love watching this team, and can only surmise what lies ahead if this team ever gets and remains healthy.

Posted by: mricklen | January 30, 2008 10:34 AM

Agree DMac needs some time with Hopola, he does not follow through enough on his jumpshots.

Posted by: rgz | January 30, 2008 10:44 AM

The 3 extra minutes in blowouts go both ways. I see AJ and CB out there and wonder why. teams are not making up 15-18 points in that time frame. At the same time, all minutes are not created equal. Their effort levels in these minutes are probably closer to 60% than 100.

Extra minutes didn't break Caron's hand or hurt his hip. But tired muscles and joints do contribute to the potential for injury. Its something to watch for with AD and AJ without a doubt.

Beatng Toronto, who is playing good ball, with 2 All Stars down is an accomplishment this team should be proud us. We;re gonna need a ll hands again tonight. Its time to be physical with Bosh and Barnie. BH gets 6 fouls he should use some protecting the basket with force.

Posted by: Monte | January 30, 2008 11:28 AM

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