Haywood Still Getting In Shape
Brendan Haywood's minutes and production have increased with each game since he returned last week, going from two points, two rebounds and three blocks in 24 minutes in his debut against Memphis on Wednesday, to 12 points and 10 rebounds in 32 minutes against Cleveland the next day and 18 points and 12 rebounds in 35 minutes against Miami on Saturday.
But Haywood feels that he his lagging with his conditioning after missing the first 74 games of the season after having surgery on his right wrist. He claims that he hasn't been this out of shape since high school. At times, Haywood finds himself gasping for air and sometimes looking over at interim coach Ed Tapscott, hoping for a breather.
"I feel like I'm getting in shape slowly but surely, more slower than anything else," said Haywood. "Normally, I'm used to being in pretty good shape in training camp and going on during the course of the season. Now, it's kind of like starting training camp all over for myself."
Since he didn't hurt his lower limbs, Haywood was able to maintain the same weight from training camp, where he initially suffered his wrist injury. He said he ran, worked on elliptical machines, "different things I was able to do to make sure I didn't come back all puffy."
"I'm not heavy or anything," Haywood said. "I don't have the wind."
Tapscott is pleased to have Haywood back in whatever shape he is in. The Wizards have held the edge in rebounding and points in the paint in the three games Haywood has played. They have outrebounded Memphis, Cleveland and Miami by an average of 41.3-38. The Wizards outscored them in the paint by an average of 52.7-34.7.
"I would say Brendan's injury hurt us as much defensively than did missing Gilbert offensively," Tapscott said. "He's always been sort of the captain of the defense. His presence, his intelligence in the back, his communication skills have helped us. It builds a certain confidence."
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