Thomas would like to return

In an interview on John Thompson's radio show today, center Etan Thomas said he would like to return this season. Thomas underwent heart surgery on Oct. 11 but was recently cleared by doctors for non-contact work. The team has not set a timetable for his possible return and he hasn't been cleared to practice.

As I've reported previously, the team has been prepared to play without Thomas for the remainder of the season but he clearly would like to return if and when doctors clear him to do so.

A couple of direct quotes from the interview: "Hopefully I can join my team soon and be able to go through non-contact and then after a little while, go through contact. It just depends on the doctors. I'm a little bit more anxious than they are I guess. They're being a little bit more cautious and that's understandable but I'm ready. I feel ready."

Thomas said the heart itself is fine. The main issue is how his sternum will hold up to the kind of physical contact associated with playing basketball.

"Right now, they (the Wizards) are listening to the doctors and listening to the specialists and see what they say. Everything is fine with my heart. My body has reacted great to surgery. Now they are waiting to do a few more tests to make sure I can take contact to the sternum...I anticipate being cleared to return here shortly."

The team has not said what kind of process will be involved in clearing Thomas to return so right now, it's hard to set any kind of timetable. We may learn more on Monday when Etan is scheduled to speak with reporters before the game against Dallas.

By Ivan Carter |  January 18, 2008; 6:59 PM ET
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Comments

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Nevermind that Les BouleS are doing well without Gilby, they sure as heck are doing well without ET also.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 18, 2008 7:34 PM

Gilby: 4, 8, H, 1!

FRUIT SALAD TIME!

Posted by: i smoke | January 18, 2008 8:15 PM

Gilby: 4, 8, H, 1!

FRUIT SALAD TIME!

Posted by: i smoke | January 18, 2008 8:18 PM

I wasn't trying to trash you earlier, I just wanted you to dish out some of that cold hard reality you are so famous for!

My skills are: being a big DC man fan...

...seriously the salad thing was funny, but when you made it a FRUIT salad!!! I laughed so hard... I mean, Fruit salads don't even have croutons!

Look at me, grammar patrolling you and i don't even know how to spell croutons, crewtons, kruetans? lololol, keep it up buddy, you are MY favorite!

Posted by: i smoke | January 18, 2008 8:25 PM

Do people really worship fish?

Posted by: i smoke | January 18, 2008 8:26 PM

DCMan88, you are a jerk.

Etan can help this team, provided he and Brendan work things out. And half of that depends on Brendan.

Hope you recover speedily, Etan.

Posted by: 7snider7 | January 18, 2008 9:29 PM

i smoke -- you are officially my new fave "lololol". Priceless. "what I would like to know is, 'how great would the Wizards be WITHOUT Gilbert Arenas?'" Well played sir.

Posted by: Me1 | January 18, 2008 9:53 PM

DCMeen, you are the Uwe Boll of the "Wizards Insider" comments section. Please tell me you are exploiting some obscure Teutonic tax loophole. Big fan. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Me1 | January 18, 2008 9:56 PM

"Do people really worship fish?

Posted by: i smoke | January 18, 2008 08:26 PM "

Not jshon's mom's sashimi, b/c it stinks.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 18, 2008 10:09 PM

"DCMan88, you are a jerk.

Etan can help this team, provided he and Brendan work things out. And half of that depends on Brendan.

Hope you recover speedily, Etan.

Posted by: 7snider7 | January 18, 2008 09:29 PM "

Yeah, it'd be great to have ET back, so then Ivan and ET would have to squash their beef over what Ivan wrote.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 18, 2008 10:11 PM

DChumanoid88, do you assume because I write grammatically that I am a professional journalist masquerading as a regular fan? Or is it because I express a desire that a good man (ET) is restored to health? Or do you vomit up your bile onto the internet because you over-anaesthetize yourself with alcohol or something else? Whatever the reason, make your bb comments without vilifying people of vastly greater character and ability than you. In so doing, you will become a slightly better man, and that's a start.

Posted by: 7snider7 | January 18, 2008 10:49 PM

Wow, a Uwe Boll reference on Wizards Insider, that is wild, wacky stuff. By the way this blog doesn't have enough car chases.

Posted by: Copy n' paste | January 18, 2008 11:11 PM

All we need right now is Etan to come and fight with Haywood. Brendan is having the best season of his career and I think he's one of the main reasons the zards are at where they're at. His defense, rebouding and inside presence has changed the way this team operates. Gotta give Brendan props for his play this season.

Posted by: Steven | January 18, 2008 11:18 PM

Give Etan and Brendan some credit. They can overcome their past differences.

Posted by: 7snider7 | January 18, 2008 11:31 PM

"DChumanoid88, do you assume because I write grammatically that I am a professional journalist masquerading as a regular fan? Or is it because I express a desire that a good man (ET) is restored to health? Or do you vomit up your bile onto the internet because you over-anaesthetize yourself with alcohol or something else? Whatever the reason, make your bb comments without vilifying people of vastly greater character and ability than you. In so doing, you will become a slightly better man, and that's a start.

Posted by: 7snider7 | January 18, 2008 10:49 PM "

Don't waste your time trying to psycho analyze. This is just a f'ing basketball blog for g#ds sake!

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 18, 2008 11:38 PM

i didn't see the game tonight, just read the espn report. would be nice to see some comments abou the game on this blog, instead of just talking trash to dcman88. that whole dialogue is just annoying now; dcman makes some good points. did anyone see the espn article on the game tonight.. talked as much about gilbert coming back as how well the team played. nat'l media is retarded (but i'm ok flying under the radar.) y'alls thoughts?

Posted by: andy | January 19, 2008 12:26 AM

wiz played great tonight!

Posted by: andy | January 19, 2008 12:27 AM

did anybody see the espn piece on the game? talked as much about gilby and etan coming back as about the game. nat'l media just doesn't know whats up..

Posted by: beck | January 19, 2008 12:28 AM

What are the feelings inside the locker room? I personally like what I know of Etan as a person, but, his coming back would destroy the chemistry on this team. I don't know why he and BH can't co-exist, and am incredulous as to why EJ has thought the Wizards are better with him on the court than BH, but he does. Best of health to Etan and to great things with another team.

Posted by: WizardInLakerLand | January 19, 2008 12:57 AM

didn't see the game tonight, just read the espn report. would be nice to see some comments abou the game on this blog, instead of just talking trash to dcman88. that whole dialogue is just annoying now; dcman makes some good points. did anyone see the espn article on the game tonight.. talked as much about gilbert coming back as how well the team played. nat'l media is retarded (but i'm ok flying under the radar.) y'alls thoughts?

Posted by: andy | January 19, 2008 12:26 AM

--
Your kidding right?!?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2008 1:03 AM

what the hell is going on with the comment section? can they fix it so its like the redskins insider so you have to be signed in to comment

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2008 1:14 AM

Any would who thinks the Wiz don't need Etan should look at a tape of this game and watch the way Zach Randolph had his way with inside against Blatch when Haywood was on the bench.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2008 1:38 AM

Good all-around effort against the Knicks last night. O-Pech looks like he may be able to contribute more this season than some had expected. It was good to see him do more than jack up 3's. AB didn't have a very good game, but D-Song and O-Pech more than made up for his lack of production. BTH's improvement plus a combo of AB and O-Pech off the bench - with spot minutes from D-Song when the match ups are right - puts the Wiz in very good shape at the 5. If ET comes back and doesn't upset the team chemistry, it would be icing on the cake... To bad we don't have the same depth in the back court.

Posted by: PK1 | January 19, 2008 3:17 AM

Did you catch NYoung blurt out the cute nicknames he and Pech have obtained, during a post game interview?

Pech...aka "the white ho" looked like he belonged when playing with the starters. That is a very good sign.

NYoung...aka "the black ho" showed his bball intelligence last night. That move to draw the double team and dish to RM for the 3 is also a very good sign.

Not sure why the fellas have nicknamed the two rookies after garden tools...anybody?

Posted by: oddjob | January 19, 2008 8:10 AM

Anon, do you mean Uwe Boll or Uwe Blab, former center for Indiana University in the early 80s and NBA washout with the Mavs?

Posted by: Prazak | January 19, 2008 8:34 AM

Herb Bridges/Lance/DC Man88 is like a teacher out of town, no class...

Why would ESPN spend a lot of time with a Wiz/Knick regular season game? If they spent 15 seconds on it, that would be enough. Watch Comcast to get a better and more thorough review of the game.

GA said he would be fine coming off of the bench but going full throttle when he does. Great news.

Posted by: JSchon | January 19, 2008 8:38 AM

I was at the game tonight. There wasn't the same sort of buzz obviously as the Boston game last week but the fans started really getting into it by Q3.

A few things stand out (at least from the seats...which can be different from watching from TV). NY scored his points amazingly fast and silkily smooth. We were right near the Wiz basket and it just looked effortless, including the dribbling setups to break free. He has the physical tools.

Defensive rotations were much better than earlier in the season (I was the one complaining about doubleteams of slashers in the paint, leaving 3 point shooters wide open....think GSW).

Caron and AJ getting fired up is an awesome sight.

Mason has SO much more confidence than last season. He does a bit of driving now and he doesn't look like he chucks up the 3 without a plan. I know everyone's been saying that he's no PG, and he isn't, but he's light years ahead of where he was mentally last year.

Interesting Wise column on Gilbert and coming off the bench: Gilbert sees what's going on. (good to seem him at the arena last night).

Posted by: duk | January 19, 2008 8:39 AM

Still remains to be seen if it actually happens, but it's great to see Gilbert publicly consider coming off the bench. That's a terrific sign of maturity and an acknowledgement of the job the starters have done, especially AD.

I'm one of the Pech skeptics that's beginning to be turned around. Maybe GM was right (again).

Posted by: reispace | January 19, 2008 9:07 AM

Buck and Phil mentioned that Gilbert met the team at the airport (Dulles) when they returned from NY (and the road trip) the other night. It was late at night and they thought this was very interesting.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2008 9:34 AM

Coming off the bench is great, but you sure as heck don't pay someone max money to come off the bench.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 19, 2008 9:42 AM

Lets not assume that BTH AND ET are going to tear each others head off if and when ET returns hopefully they are both mature enough to realize this is a squad on the upswing and the coaching staff ain't having it!!!!! Now about last night, great game by CB and AJ and the BENCH finally showed up GA hurry up and get well.Happy MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY everyone.

Posted by: DARGREGMAG@AOL.COM | January 19, 2008 9:54 AM

Caron, Antwan will be all stars especially if the Wiz can overtake Orlando by the All-star break. Take that to the bank.

Posted by: PTP23 | January 19, 2008 10:06 AM

"Lets not assume that BTH AND ET are going to tear each others head off if and when ET returns hopefully they are both mature enough to realize this is a squad on the upswing and the coaching staff ain't having it!!!!!

Posted by: DARGREGMAG@AOL.COM | January 19, 2008 09:54 AM "

Depends on if EJ is going to play mind games with these two guys again. Right now, when BTH is not in a groove, he takes him out for AB, but BTH and AB are tight, so BTH doesn't care. But, if ET is the first off the bench (logically, since he's bigger than AB), then it may be deja vu all over again.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 19, 2008 10:16 AM

"He's a franchise player substituting for another franchise player, and as long as the Wizards are going good -- they're currently the fourth-best team in the Eastern Conference after an 0-5 start...."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/18/AR2008011803690.html


CBut is a great guy, not just on the court but also off the court. No clown games.

It'll be interesting how his long term/low money contract plays out. I think if CBut continues to carry this team to season and post season success, EG might have to tear up the current contract and give him a new one.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 19, 2008 10:34 AM


For me the main reason the wizards are doing well this season is because the center, Brendan Haywood, has made a lot of improvement defending the paint, making those free throws, improved rebounding and limiting the big guys of the other teams. I also see him making those 15 footer jumpshot soon and getting more than 10 rebounds per game to increase the double double stats number.


Posted by: dinglerma | January 19, 2008 10:38 AM

Forget to include this from the Wise article:

"The entire league now knows: Butler is not a No. 2 player anymore."

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 19, 2008 10:40 AM

1. Nick Young said black HOLE and white HOLE, as in if you pass them the ball its not coming back out cuz their shooting it. how is that so hard to understand?

2. Caron can play he mind out, hes not getting a raise. come on man, you know that NBA contracts are guaranteed and can't get re-worked, which is why it was so great in the first place that EG signed Caron to that long contract extensions when he first got here.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2008 10:41 AM

Etan,

Don't worry about contact drill just yet. Get together with the shooting coach and practice your free throw shooting first!

Posted by: Sagaliba | January 19, 2008 11:07 AM

From watching the game last night, I can see in the short turn, O-Pec is going to take some minutes away from AB.

In the long run, I hope the two can play together, with O-Pec playing 5 and draws opponent's 5 away from the basket and allows Blatche to operate inside. I don't know why Blatche lost his aggressiveness going to the basket, and settled for outside shot - he is not as good a outside shooter as he thinks he is!

Posted by: Sagaliba | January 19, 2008 11:15 AM

dinglerma,

Unless EJ increases BH's minutes, it is very difficult for him to average double digit rebounds. If you check out NBA stats:
http://www.nba.com/statistics/player/Rebounds.jsp?league=00&conf=OVERALL&position=0&splitType=9splitScope=GAME&qualified=N&yearsExp=-1&splitDD=All%20Teams

All players having double digit rebounds have more minutes than BH. In fact the average playing time for players who average 10 rebounds or more is 35.2 minutes per game!

Had BH plays that many minutes, he would have averaged double digit rebounds already. BTW, the best "per minute" rebounder on the team is Haywood, not Jamison!

Posted by: Sagaliba | January 19, 2008 11:31 AM

oh...hole. I get it.

Not as funny as ho though.

I'm beginning to think GA will sign the extension afterall. And then he will be adored by all. Well, maybe with one exception...

Posted by: oddjob | January 19, 2008 11:39 AM

A good win, lots of positives...Especially Pecherov it would seem, but also NY, RM and DS.

Uwe Blab it was!

Re Arenas and ET:

(1) The Arenas comments were intersting and important, I think. If he is willing to play coming off the bench, the Wizards would almost automatically have the best second unit in the NBA.

If you don't think that matters look what happened in Detroit last night... Sacto loaded its bench with Kevin Martin, Mike Bibby and Ron Artest, and beat Detroit at home with a 60-5 mangling of the same Piston bench that ate the Wizards lunch last week. Jason Maxiel got all 5 of those points and Arvis Hayes once again lost his "J"... drawing a 0-5 horse collar for the night defended by Artest, no doubt.

(2) If ET comes back content with 8-12 minutes of high energy bench play and no questions about who is the starting center, all the better.

I believe both these men see that there is something potentially special going on with their team, that chemistry has everything to do with it, and they want to be a part of it.

The Wizards in a best case scenario are on the verge of becoming a deep and dangerous team at exactly the right time in the long season. I have told my kids (aged 29 and 30) that this franchise has not been this good since the year they were born.

Posted by: khrabb | January 19, 2008 11:55 AM

I heard Phil and Buch mention Gilbert coming to meet the team the other night and Buch said something about Caron saying that "he must have missed them". It's Gilbert showing his support for the team and his comments are very positive and supportive. They did look great last night from Caron and Antawn on down to Nick and Pech. My only hope is that they can play nearly as good on the real game to test the chemistry, Monday's Dallas game. I keep forgetting still that NY isnt that great a team.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2008 12:37 PM

Arvis also was 0-5 when they got smoked by the Knicks prior to playing the Wiz. He's one of those guys that lose a lot of confidence when things get a little dicey. Good thing that NY isn't like that, he seems to ooze with confidence even when he's in a slump.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2008 12:50 PM

A couple of things:

1. Grunfeld can't tear up Butler's contract and give him a new one. NBA contracts are guaranteed, even if Grunfeld wanted to he couldn't. He could give Butler a contract extension, but with 2 years (?) left to run on his deal, there is no reason to do that.

2. Etan was the more adult of the two men during their tiffs last year. I have no doubt that he won't mess up the chemistry that is going right now. In addition his return means that Jamison get some more (and much needed) rest because of Blatche can play 4 now and maybe we will see more lineups with Blatche and BTH on the floor at the same time. Ayers influence will also keep EJ from over playing Thomas at BTH's expense.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 19, 2008 1:08 PM

"(1) The Arenas comments were intersting and important, I think. If he is willing to play coming off the bench, the Wizards would almost automatically have the best second unit in the NBA.

Posted by: khrabb | January 19, 2008 11:55 AM "

Check the next blog by Ivan, as Ivan basically thinks Gilby is lying about coming off the bench, without calling him a liar outright. Of course, it's just Gilby being Gilby.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 19, 2008 6:37 PM

While Etan's return could help the Wiz this year, it would be bad news for next year and beyond.

He can make a contribution this year as a big body/enforcer coming off the bench to back up Haywood (who is clearly the starter and should get all the minutes he can handle). Last year, we had 4 centers on the roster (Haywood, Thomas, Booth and Ruffin) plus Blatche. While the off-season departure of Booth and Ruffin hasn't been much of a loss, we certainly could use more depth at center.

The problem with Etan's return comes over the next three years when he will count $20+ million ($6.34M, $6.86M. $7.35M) against the salary and luxury cap. It makes no sense to pay that kind of money to a reserve of Etan's caliber (good but not great). Ernie's decision to match Milwaukee's FA salary offer to Etan was, by far, his worst decision in what otherwise has been a masterful job managing team salary.

Under the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, Etan's salary would come off the books for salary cap/luxury tax purposes next season -- though he could continue to receive his salary -- if (1) he were to retire for health reasons this season and (2) an NBA doctor verifies the legitimacy of the health issues (which, until Etan's recent comments, didn't appear to be much of a problem after open heart surgery). As I understand the CBA, the salary cap/luxury tax relief can't come this year because there's a one-year waiting period (presumably to deter teams/players from taking unfair advantage of this exception).

The Wiz will need that money to resign both Arenas and Jamison next off season. Moreover, due to salary cap/luxury tax constraints, the Wiz have left unfilled a couple roster slots. If Etan were to retire consistent with the CBA exception, we could add needed depth next year (including a back-up big man banger for a fraction of Etan's salary).

I wish Etan the very best of health as well as a full and happy life. However, in the tough business of the NBA, the Wiz stand to benefit much more in the long term from retirement rather than his return to action

Posted by: DanPeter | January 21, 2008 10:31 AM

Why are we not hearing more chatter about moving Etan somewhere else? In fact, wouldn't we be better off moving Etan and Darius to Memphis for Damon Stoudamire and Stromile Swift. Not only does that give us some salary relief in the out years--and avoid the Haywood conflict, but it also keeps Damon away from Boston, Cleveland or whomever--and give us that back up point guard in case Daniels and Arenas cannot suit up. It would free up $6 million to sign Blatche to a long-term deal. Even if it cost us our first round draft choice to get Memphis interested, it seems like a deal for the Wiz.

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