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Tuesday update

I'm pretty much going to lose the entire day flying back from Salt Lake City but I'll update as I can if fresh news pops up.

-The team flew back to Washington following last night's ugly 129-87 loss to the Jazz here in Salt Lake City and will not practice today. Coach Eddie Jordan said the team will go through an extensive shootaround tomorrow morning to prepare for the Bucks.

-Gilbert Arenas could make his long awaited return against the Bucks if Dr. Marc Connell, the man who performed the surgery on his left knee on Nov. 21, clears him to play. You'll recall that Arenas desperately wanted to play against the Pistons on March 23 but was told by the doctors that he needed at least another week.
Arenas wants to make his return at home and he'll be ready to play tomorrow night if he's cleared but he's trying to not get his hopes up. "Whatever they tell me, I'll do," Arenas said. "It's not on me right now."

- According to one team source I spoke with, Arenas is "very close." If Dr. Connell signs off, the plan would be to bring Arenas off the bench and play him between 15 and 20 minutes. Then, the doctor and athletic trainers will be very interested to see how the knee responds the day after he sees game action. One issue: Gilbert's wind.
He said it's not even close to what it needs to be to play a full game and, because the team hasn't practiced the entire trip, he's been limited to individual workouts. He went through an intense one prior to Monday's game. When he took a seat not far from where I was sitting, he was gasping. "Thin air up here," he said.

-One thing is clear based on the conversations I've had: if the Wizards were out of the playoff hunt, Arenas would probably be shut down for the season right now, but, because they're alive and he wants to play, the door is open.

-Antonio Daniels (left wrist) and Caron Butler (left hamstring) will be evalutated today and tomorrow. Daniels said he was set to see a hand specialist at some point today but told me that he's playing against the Bucks. "It can't get any worse," he said.

-Butler doesn't believe that the hamstring problem is related to the left hip issues he had earlier and he hoped that a couple of days off would be enough for it loosen up and allow him to play against Milwaukee. The good news, I guess, is that he said the hip hasn't been a problem at all.

-So, with eight games to go and a heavy playoff push taking place, the Wizards could get back three key players, including one three-time all star and one two-time all star, as soon as tomorrow night or, they could play with none of them. Does that perfectly summarize this crazy season or what? I know my head is spinning.

-Oh, and to the fellas at www.bulletsforever.com, you almost had me. Nice one. Way to mess with a paranoid beat writer. The gods of journalism karma will visit you soon.

By Ivan Carter  |  April 1, 2008; 9:38 AM ET
 
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Comments

I'd like to see Gilbert play 15 minutes against Mil and see AJ and CB nailed to the bench. Then evaluate. Maybe all 3 should sit out for the Miami.

Even when we're down by 30, AJ plays 33 minutes.

The object is to be strong and healthy for the playoffs and have some confidence going in. As the Giants showed, confidence can be gained in one game. The Wiz play the Magic in Orlando to end the season.

Posted by: Izman | April 1, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

"So, with eight games to go and a heavy playoff push taking place, the Wizards could get back three key players, including one three-time all star and one two-time all star, as soon as tomorrow night or, they could play with none of them. Does that perfectly summarize this crazy season or what?"

Man, Ivan, you nailed it.

Posted by: Eric | April 1, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Ivan - great summary on the state of the team and uncertainty surrounding it.

IF GA can give us 15-20 minutes of quality production off the bench plus lead the 2nd unit, we'd have a lot more depth. Assuming CB3 and AD can play this week, we should be able to get 2 easy wins against Milwaukee and Miami. I'd limit CB3, AD, and AJ to 30-35 minutes in each game. We have a nice 3-day break after Chicago to catch our breath and get ready for the homestretch. Might not be bad to sit CB3 on Wednesday unless his hammy is 100%.

Posted by: wizafan89 | April 1, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I read Bulletforever via Google Reader, so I never see the comments. On top of that, I never clicked on link they provided.

So earlier this morning, I had the complete and utter belief that OPec is currently incarnated in Utah.

Posted by: James | April 1, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

"If Dr. Connell signs off, the plan would be to bring Arenas off the bench and play him between 15 and 20 minutes."

Yeah, but whose plan is that? I'm guessing Eddie Jordan's plan is 15 to 20 minutes -- per half. He's going to watch Gilbert's minutes -- all 40 of them.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 1, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I love Gilby.

I love the Wizards.

I love everyone on this blog.

April Fools!

Posted by: DC Man88 | April 1, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or did Blatch play AWFUL last night? He looks like he is sleep walking. He absolutely sucked on both sides of the court.

Posted by: Eddie P | April 1, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

The 41 point loss wasn't the karmic payback from the journalism gods?

I guess this means that I should throw away any mail I get from Utah.

...or Washington Post headquarters. :P

Posted by: JakeTheSnake | April 1, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I love Gilby.

I love the Wizards.

I love everyone on this blog.

April Fools!

Posted by: DC Man88 | April 1, 2008 12:00 PM

We love you, too.

APRIL FOOLS!

Posted by: everyone on this blog | April 1, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

We love you, too.

APRIL FOOLS!

Posted by: everyone on this blog | April 1, 2008 12:36 PM

Agreed.

Posted by: Crabhands | April 1, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Wizards are going nowhere fast. Looked like chicken with their heads cut off against a Utah team that also had 2 starters out. No Butler, no Daniels, its still basketball. Looked like had no diea what they were doing. Eddie looks like genius one night then like a simpleton the next. Awful. Oh and Blatche what are you doing?

Posted by: Stick | April 1, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Last game of a long road trip, second game of a back-to-back, coming off a hard fought, emotional overtime loss, playing even more short-handed than usual. It was just one of those games they didn't have it. Came in low on gas and the tank emptied out quickly. Purge it from the memory and move on.

Posted by: kalorama | April 1, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Kalorama is a voice of reason on the blog. Anyone who expected anything but a blowout after the emotional OT loss to the Lakers minus CB3 and AD does not know a thing about basketball. It his nothing to do with EJ's coaching. He doesn't have the horses - look at the 4 DNP's in the box score from last night. Going 2-3 on the road trip is acceptable (3-2 with a win over the Lakers would have been huge).

The Wiz have a very favorable schedule in April and should win at least 5 of 8 if CB3 is back in the lineup. I think 43 or 44 wins would qualify as a heck of a season considering the Wiz have played all season without their top player and 20+ games without their MVP (CB3). People need to see the big picture and stop badmouthing EJ. He's doing the best he can with the talent available and not making excuses.

Posted by: wizfan89 | April 1, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Back to back games, coming of an emotional game......Been an excuse for more than 7 games. Consistency is what they lack.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 1, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Get off EJ's back folks. As I said last night the only fault I have is that Jamison wasn't pulled earlier.

The trip was not a catastrophe. We are still in the hunt for a good seeding. Cavs losing streak is what was most surprising over the last several weeks. I still have eyes on 4th spot. Gil returning, playing 20 good minutes in a win on Wednesday and having no pain on Thursday would be WONDERFUL.

Posted by: BmoreRev | April 1, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

FYI, the link to the BF post cited by Ivan is here.

http://bulletsforever.com/story/2008/4/1/1190/16558

Posted by: Pradamaster | April 1, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"Back to back games, coming of an emotional game......Been an excuse for more than 7 games. Consistency is what they lack."

Well, if as you say, they've been doing the same thing over and over, isn't that what consistency is?

Posted by: kalorama | April 1, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Kal, I'm not sure being consistently inconsistent is a great defense to the charge of inconsistency. And while I agree with you that a blowout was entirely predictable after the Wiz came in tired from the OT and Utah came in pissed about dropping a game to the Timberwolves in a close playoff race, I don't think it excuses everyone. Blatche played, what, 15 minutes against the Lakers? How tired were your legs the next day after 15 minutes of hoops when you were 21?

Not ready to write the guy off yet, but he's heading in the direction of being another Kwame.


Posted by: Prazak | April 1, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't trying to excuse anyone. As long as they're getting paid, they should show up and work. That said, however, nobody gives 100% everyday at at their job. Some days the juice just isn't there. No excuses needed. It's just how things work sometimes.

As for Blatche ... I'm already on record that I think he's at a tipping point where he could fall into the abyss of wasted potential, full of talented guys who just didn't get it. What he does in the playoffs could go a long way towards telling which way he's going to fall.

Posted by: kalorama | April 1, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Blatche is not another Kwame... he was not picked number 1 overall, he was a middling second-rounder and for all his potential, the numbers the Wiz are getting from him are about as good as what one would expect from someone picked where he was.

Granted, like Kwame he LOOKS like he should be doing so much more... but he cannot be labeled a bust and his contract is more than tradeable if the Wiz want to trade him for a back-up point guard etc.

If the Wiz can beat the Bucks and Heat while intergrating Gilbert back into the lineup and resting AD... we can go into the playoffs with a shot at raising some heck.

Posted by: khrabb | April 1, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I wish GA would sit out the year. No need to risk that knee again. Let it heal and come back strong as hell next year, on a mission.

Also, if he has no wind, there is no way he is going to get back into shape and make a difference for the playoffs. There are not that many games left. Although I am 49 years old and still play 3 times a week, when I have to take off any amount of time, the hardest thing to get back is game reaction and shooting when your arms and legs are dead tired.

GA, shut it down and kill em next year !!

Posted by: Section101 | April 1, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

If EJ is touted as Coach of the Year after every good win, shouldn't he be criticized after slaughters like last night? I'm just saying ....

Posted by: Anonymous | April 1, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully the Wizards will finally catch a break on this injury nightmare. And I hope you are right wizfan about Gilbert only getting 15-20 minutes, but I am afraid that Gilbert will want to play more and EJ will not say no like he should.
To me that is the reason some of these guys play so many minutes coming off an injury and rush back and get hurt worse. Players like Arenas and Butler want to be in the game and stay in the game and EJ is not strong enough to say no to them, when maybe he should.

Posted by: George Templeton | April 1, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

He could say no to them, but why would he? Coaches keep their jobs by winning games. He's not going to win a lot of games by sitting his best players. Would playing them fewer minutes possibly prolong their careers and minimize the risk of future injury? Possibly. But if it also results in them losing more games and possibly missing the playoffs or getting a lower seed, there's no real incentive for him to do so. All he'd be doing is keeping the team healthy for the next coach who replaces him. Coaching is a "what have you done for me lately" business and every coach knows it. Guys like Jerry Sloan who last 20 years with the same team are an extreme rarity. There's a reason why, in his fifth year, Jordan is the longest tenured coach in the Eastern conference.

Posted by: kalorama | April 1, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Kalorama. Eddie is smart to look out for himself, rather than for the team and for the well-being of his players, because then, if the Wizards again fail in the playoffs, he will again have the injured players excuse.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 1, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Coaching is a "what have you done for me lately" business
Posted by: kalorama | April 1, 2008 06:20 PM

Boy, ain't that the truth! Just look at this blog.... On here, it's not just "what have you done for me lately", but what did you do for me yesterday!!!

Posted by: Rook | April 1, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

"I agree with Kalorama."

Uh...no. Nice try but, quite obviously, that's not even in the same universe as what I said.

Posted by: kalorama | April 1, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

"Back to back games, coming of an emotional game......Been an excuse for more than 7 games. Consistency is what they lack." - anon

You got it, anon. Our allotment of "bad" no show games was gone a long time ago! And sometimes it's not the losing, but how you lose. The Utah game was a complete embarrassment. Put it this way, if the roles were reversed last night, do you think the Wiz would have completely blown out Utah like they did us? I think not. We might have won, but most likely by a small margin. That my friends is the difference between contenders and pretenders and truly great coaching vs decent coaching. I dream of Jerry Sloan as the coach of the Wiz!

All the excuse making for this team is a losers attitude. I want a contender! Did anyone blow their lid last night? Did the player's show any fight at least verbally about how they played? I hope so, but doubt it.

Posted by: Rob P | April 1, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Compare average minutes per game for the Big 3 of the Spurs, Celts and Wiz.

Then ask yourself whether the bench of the Wiz is really that much worse than the Celtic or Spurs' bench. (BTW, I count Ginobli as one of the Spur's Big 3).

In every endeavor, there is a trade-off between short-term and long-term gains. EJ hasn't learned that lesson yet.

Posted by: Izman | April 1, 2008 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Right on, Izman.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 1, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

What was the bulletsforever joke? The link doesn't work.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 1, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

"Compare average minutes per game for the Big 3 of the Spurs, Celts and Wiz."

Seems to me that comparison would be somewhat skewed by the fact that one of the Wizards "Big Three" hasn't suited up for a game since November.

When one or more of your stars are out, it raises the responsibility of the remaining ones to carry the load. Boston's Big 3 have missed a combined total of 16 games. The Spurs' have missed 23. The Wizards' have missed 87. So of course there's a greater need for the ones that do play to carry extra slack when one or more of the others are gone. And since Gilbert's been gone, essentially, the whole season there's a bigger load to carry for Jamison and Butler.

As for the benches: (A) The fact that the Celtics and Spurs stars have missed so few games means that their bench has been asked to carry a smaller load than Washington's. (B) What's the definition of "better"? Are the Celtics and Spurs benches more talented or athletic or whatever on paper? Who knows? Who cares? The only thing that matters is performance, and their benches have been performing better and more consistently on the court (A) there's no question that the Spurs' bench is better than the Wiz, insofar as it comes to stepping up and picking up slack when the starters are out or underperforming. The Spurs bench is composed of multiple title winning vets who don't panic or make mistakes in the clutch. The Wiz bench is composed of rookies and unheralded journeymen.

Posted by: kalorama | April 1, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Kal, I mostly agree with you except that our bench is pretty much talented but young rookies. I don't know who is a unheralded journeyman.

But, yeah EJ has been coaching to MAKE the playoffs with GA out. The only thing I've seen is during our too many blowouts AJ and CB will still get 35+ minutes. If your going to give up games at least save them the minutes for those games! Love to see the day where we are good enough to coach to make the playoffs intact ala Spurs and others!

Posted by: Rob P | April 1, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

I think the bench has been coming along nicely. AD's always been solid, although with Gil out he's no longer part of the bench. Roger has emerged as a reliable back-up PG and spot-up shooter. Darius has his legs back and is contributing solid minutes night-in, night-out. Nick Young is showing flashes of being a potent scorer.

Eddie's been willing to rely on this core from his bench more and more. But it is still frustrating to see Butler and Jamison getting MPGs in the upper 30s or low 40s during games when the Wiz are getting blown out. That is not the best way to ride these guys. Even with the Celtics pathetic bench you don't see Doc riding his big horses that hard.

Posted by: Prazak | April 1, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

"What was the bulletsforever joke? The link doesn't work."

They reported that EJ was fired after the game, there was a big brawl in the locker room (in which Jamison KO'ed Haywood), and that Pech was arrested.

Posted by: Gburg | April 1, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

They reported that EJ was fired after the game, there was a big brawl in the locker room (in which Jamison KO'ed Haywood), and that Pech was arrested.

Posted by: Gburg | April 1, 2008 08:01 PM

Nah, it was actually just the last part.
http://bulletsforever.com/story/2008/4/1/165532/3102

We moved the link to get it off Google News.

Posted by: Pradamaster | April 1, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

"I don't know who is a unheralded journeyman."

That would be Songaila and Mason.

Posted by: kalorama | April 1, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Any news on Gilbert's swelling? Caron's soreness? Antonio's sprain?

Posted by: oddjob` | April 1, 2008 11:36 PM | Report abuse

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