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Posted at 5:36 PM ET, 12/12/2010

Andray Blatche sits out practice with left knee swelling, expects to play against the Lakers

By Michael Lee

I'm going to feel this in the morning. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/Washington Post)

Andray Blatche (left knee swelling) and John Wall (sore left foot) both sat out of practice to nurse their respective injuries. Blatche said he started developing soreness in his knee the day after scoring 14 points in a team-high 40 minutes in the Wizards' 101-95 loss to New York on Friday, in his return after missing the previous two games with a left hip contusion. The condition worsened the next day, Blatche said, and he shut himself down after attempting to run in practice.

"My knee was fine against the Knicks; it was just my hip. I was dragging a little bit, but I tried to compete as hard as I could," he said. "After the Knicks game, I went home, it felt a little strange, but it wasn't swollen. Last night, when I went to bed, it was real stiff, I looked up and it was swollen. Today, I couldn't even bend it. I couldn't even practice."

Blatche said he doesn't expect the injury to force him to sit out against the Lakers on Tuesday. He missed the Wizards' 115-108 loss to the Lakers last week after suffering a bruised hip in the loss to Phoenix. "The pain moved from my hip, now it's in my knee," said Blatche, who pulled down the protective sleeve over his knee to show how much swelling had developed. "I'm going to go home, ice, try to get this thing down. Try to get ready. We've got a couple of days [to prepare] anyway. Only thing that can keep from going is if I can't bend this leg."

Blatche has been dealing with some soreness in his left knee all season and was forced to miss a few practices. "It comes and goes. When it's gone I'm fine, when it comes back, it comes back stronger and worse," he said.

Blatche has missed two of the past four games, but wasn't concerned about working his way back into the flow. "I'm not worried about my rhythm. I worried about my team, getting some wins. We're on the wrong path and we've got to do something to turn it around," he said.

He added that he was most upset with how the Wizards performed in Sacramento in his absence. "Those kind of games hurt the most. Seeing them go out there and get manhandled as a team. It just seemed guys didn't put forth the effort. Guys didn't give it they all that game and it showed. That Sacramento team shouldn't have did what they did to us -- but they did, because guys don't really get this. This is a job. You're doing something you love, so why not work hard? Guys wasn't doing it that game, and that's why we got our [butt] kicked. It's all about focus, focus and passion. You got to want it."

Coach Flip Saunders expects Blatche to be available against the Lakers, but added it has been hard to find a reliable rotation with his big men, either through injuries or inconsistency. "It's not knowing the guys you have, but our young guys, what to expect," he said. "It can change over the course of a day, going into the game, or in the course of the game."

Kevin Seraphin went from starter against Sacramento to inactive against the Knicks. Trevor Booker worked himself into the rotation on the west coast, averaging 21.3 minutes against Phoenix, the Lakers and Kings, but was limited to just six minutes against the Knicks.

Saunders recently met with Hilton Armstrong, one of the Wizards' most experienced big men to explain why he has seen less action in the past few games. The 6-11 Armstrong received his first DNP-Coach's Decision of the season against the Knicks. "He had played well, then he kind of slipped in practice," Saunders said of Armstrong. "He's picked it up the past few days."

"The rotation is situational, as much as anything," Saunders said.

By Michael Lee  | December 12, 2010; 5:36 PM ET
Categories:  Andray Blatche, Flip Saunders, John Wall  
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Next: Howard closer to return; Blatche expects to play despite swollen knee


I do feel some sympathy for fans who bought season tickets and box seats. The product ain't worth it, I know. A buddy and I talked about splitting season tix but I backed out because it just seemed to me this team was going to lose a whole lot of games and I wasn't sure there was any way to avoid it. Economically it just didn't make good sense.

Not ideal fan behavior from Ted's perspective but this is not the era of discretionary spending.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 12, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

...Flop is an idiot. The rotation is situational, too bad his brain is not.

Posted by: oddjob1 | December 12, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you he is idiot.He will remain idiot ,this team will not rebuild if this idiot coach is removed.He is looking to win miningless games for no clear reason.There is no need to minimize JM 's minutes or NY 's minutes.They should be evaluated in detail to see if they could be long term projects.

Posted by: gtefferra | December 12, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

"I agree with you he is idiot.He will remain idiot ,this team will not rebuild if this idiot coach is removed. He is looking to win miningless games for no clear reason."

I think wanting to keep his job is a pretty clear reason to try and win games. And I'm fairly confident that any coach, at any level, in any sport would agree.

"There is no need to minimize JM 's minutes or NY 's minutes.They should be evaluated in detail to see if they could be long term projects."

Posted by: gtefferra | December 12, 2010 8:18 PM

Well, allow me to quell your uncertainty. Young and McGee are long-term projects. No bout adoubt it. They've been long-term projects for 3+ and 2+ years, respectively, and promise to be so for at least a few more.

Feel better?

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 12, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

There's an old saying in boxing: it's not enough to win the fight, you need to be worth watching, too. Meaning show the punters enough that they're willing to fork over cash for the next bout, too.

When I was thinking about season tix for the Wiz games, it occurred to me the only one I really wanted to see (enough to cough up that sort of dough) was John Wall. No disrespect to the others on the team, but it when it came down to it, Wall was the special one.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 12, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Much has been made of the lack of skills exhibited by Jmc and the over all defensive prowess of the Wiz on D. 
Coaching is the missing element has been noted by many. 
Specifically technique is the problem in both situations. 
Jmc and most of the Wiz  play the game and especially defense above the waist. Reaching and grabbing back peddling. Gilbert is the poster boy. 
Dwight Howard also played above the waist and was able to compete because of his upper body strength. This is not the case with any of the Wiz. Yet with their lack of strength they are still trying to
Play that way. 
As has been documented Howard took the time to work with Hakeem on his foot work in the offseason and his game has transcended. 
Jmac, Ab,Ga,Yi and Ny need to learn footwork fundamentals. This gets back to good coaching. 
Watch teams coached by   
Coach K at Duke, Doc Rivers...they play with their feet and legs, and they excel skill wise and especially on Defense. 
So yes again, coaching is the skill level missing on the Wiz. 
Also the fortitude and command to dictate the necessity of learning these skills, or hitting the road or reduced court time. Obviously this calls for a coach secure with his status and mind set enough to be flexible and resilient. 
Need I say that Coach Twitch is lacking in too
many of these areas?
One other area of coaching acumen is the distribution of well though court time. 
The wiz have 2 players ghat have not had significant injuries this season...Jmc and Ny. 
They have also been on the court the least time for rotation players. 
Making Jw the captain as well as averaging 40 minutes is suicidal and leg/foot injuries inevitable. 
Yes he is now just 20, but the travel and game schedule of the NBA is a challenge for even savvy veterans. 
Even with the injuries, Twitch is running the injured excessive minutes which leads to the obvious reinjuries. 
Again a secure person coach knows this and does not jeopardize for his insecurities. 
Au revoir twitch!

Posted by: mricklen | December 13, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Naah, let's not select scapegoats -- yet. Let's stay the course. All the young players can't help but get lots of minutes this season. It's a great opportunity to really evaluate these players. Those that don't perform and/or don't improve will be gone, and the Wizards will have another good draft.

There are plenty of coaches for the Wizards, with plenty of experience.

Posted by: PostSubscriber | December 13, 2010 6:24 AM | Report abuse

What Post Subscriber states does not take into account the what the Wizards are learning is how to lose, and how to play along side a couple of slackers. We know McGee is the center for the future, for now. Blatche is the PF, he is signed. He is inadequate in his performance. His laziness is legendary, his defense, rebounding, tap in, blocking out, and paint protection effort is weak at best. He should have to earn his minutes based on his last game performance. Effort every third or fourth game is not sufficient. He allows more bad court situations and more points than he generates. How many missed opportunities can one man be allowed to have due to lack of hustle and softness. Flip (Barney Rubble) should explain to the fans what he is trying to accomplish. I dont think he can, because I am not sure he knows. The line up is in disarray. It is past time to have given Barney Rubble new marching orders and determine if he can meet them. The injuries are nothing. We have plenty of SF's just as capable as Thornton, who problably wont be playing much anyway. We had plenty of duplicate guards when Wall was injured. We have a better all around playing PF in Booker, not as good offensively, but fought for loose balls, ran the floor, got tip ins, fought under the basket for his rebounds, and put a tough body on the opponent. Addition by subtraction.

Posted by: 1bmffwb | December 13, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

I wouldnt mind seeing a few minutes of:


Posted by: divi3 | December 13, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

"McGee is the center for the future, for now."
Posted by: 1bmffwb

LOL, probably how the organization sees him as well

Posted by: Miks | December 13, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

"As has been documented Howard took the time to work with Hakeem on his foot work in the offseason and his game has transcended. Jmac, Ab,Ga,Yi and Ny need to learn footwork fundamentals. This gets back to good coaching."

Posted by: mricklen | December 13, 2010 12:06 AM

The problem with using that as a criticism of the Wizards coaching should be fairly obvious: Hakeeem isn't actually a member of the Magic coaching staff. Howard took it upon himself to work with Olajuwon in the offseason. He showed individual initiative. It'd be nice if some of the Wizards players did the same.

"We have plenty of SF's just as capable as Thornton, who problably wont be playing much anyway."

Posted by: 1bmffwb | December 13, 2010 9:39 AM

Really? Who? Because it sure ain't Gee or Martin. Howard is hurt. Young is (A) really a SG and (B) already playing about 25 mpg. Who's left?

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 13, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Gee or Martin could get the same stats as Thornton, without much doubt. Unless you think he is doing good consistently.

Posted by: 1bmffwb | December 13, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

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