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Posted at 2:08 PM ET, 12/13/2010

Wizards could be shorthanded against the Los Angeles Lakers

By Michael Lee

The Wizards were without their leading scorer, second-leading scorer and third-leading scorer, as John Wall, Gilbert Arenas and Andray Blatche all missed practice on Monday because of various ailments.

Blatche's appears to be the most severe, with Coach Flip Saunders saying that the 6-11 forward is "probably out" against the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers with a swollen left knee. Wall has developed some soreness in his right knee, which Saunders said is probably the result of overcompensation from his left foot injury, and is "very questionable." Arenas is probable, with what the team is calling "general soreness."

Saunders was told that this probably isn't the ideal situation to prepare for the Lakers. "You think?" Saunders said. "I guess that's been more the norm this season than it's been abnormal. You go with what you have. It gives guys opportunities to step up and show what they have, show what they can do."

Blatche missed the Wizards' 115-108 loss to the Lakers last week after suffering a bruised right hip in Phoenix. He also sat against Sacramento, but returned to score 14 points in 40 minutes on Friday against the New York Knicks. He developed some swelling in his left knee the next day and has missed the past two practices.

"Dray is really our only low-block threat, teams have a tendency to put pressure on their perimeters and take away some opportunities," Saunders said. "Makes it a little more difficult to function. We're going to have to play differently, control tempo more and just try to do things, maybe not play as fast a pace as we'd like to."

Nick Young scored 30 points in the last meeting against the Lakers, but Saunders said the team may also have to rely more on Al Thornton, Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin. Booker and Seraphin were instrumental in helping the Wizards cut a 19-point deficit down to three in the second half. "It's going to have to be a combination of the whole team. We're going to have to play a lot of people, to keep fresh and play with a great amount of energy," Saunders said. "We came back in LA because we played hard. We're at a point now, with our talent level because of the injuries, that we're going to have to play harder than other people, that's going to be the only way that we can hang with people. At home, our crowd will be with us and that extra adrenaline with help us."

Thornton said the team would have to play unselfishly in order to defeat the Lakers. After spending his first 2 ½ seasons with the Clippers, Thornton always appreciated how the Lakers approached the game. "Got to respect them, they the champs and they always bring it," Thornton said. "The Lakers are going to go on their runs, the thing is, how are we going to respond to their runs? We get down, it's been times this year, we get down and I hate to say this, we pretty much just quit. I think we got scorers on this team that get the job done. But we've got to play unselfish, that's the key and you've got to make shots against the Lakers."

Thornton declined to comment specifically on the Yahoo! Sports article in which Clippers owner Don Sterling has allegedly been heckling point guard Baron Davis. Thornton had a rocky history with Sterling, with the controversial owner confronting Thornton in the locker room and calling him a selfish player. "It was an incident. I'm going to leave that in the past," Thornton said. "We had words with each other, but that's in the past. We didn't agree on something and that's that."

By Michael Lee  | December 13, 2010; 2:08 PM ET
Categories:  Al Thornton, Andray Blatche, Flip Saunders, Gilbert Arenas, John Wall  
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Next: Josh Howard talks about his return to the Wizards

Comments

Percentage of fans at tomorrow night's game cheering for the Lakers instead of the Wizards: 73%

Percentage of those Laker fans actually from Los Angeles: 9%

Posted by: bryc3 | December 13, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Wall has soreness in his right knee, possibly the result of overcompensating for the injury from his left foot. Why I am not surprized by this. Don't understand why they are pressing Wall to play with an injury that clearly has been bothering him. Not good.

Posted by: spades72 | December 13, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Wall has soreness in his right knee, possibly the result of overcompensating for the injury from his left foot. Why I am not surprized by this. Don't understand why they are pressing Wall to play with an injury that clearly has been bothering him. Not good.

Posted by: spades72 | December 13, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

It's gotta be tha shoes! death to the ReeZig

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 13, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

This seems to be a revelation to Saunders:
"We're going to have to play a lot of people, to keep fresh and play with a great amount of energy."

Mars to Saunders: If you play any player 40 mins every game, he will get hurt. Period. No doubt about it. It must be a newsflash for you cause you never heard it before.

Posted by: rickgonz | December 13, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Nobody can accuse Thornton of being a quitter. Dude has played hard even if the stats don't always bear that out.

I like his overall attitude especially considering he has played with the two MOST dysfunctional franchises in the Association. It would be easy for him to take a shot at Sterling but he takes the high road because he knows there's nothing to gain.

After putting up with whiners like Haywood, it's nice to see a hardcore frontcourt player who shuts his trap and just plays.

Flip might be wise to keep Thornton as the starter even when Josh returns.

Posted by: elfreako | December 13, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Thornton said the team would have to play unselfishly in order to defeat the Lakers. After spending his first 2 ½ seasons with the Clippers, Thornton always appreciated how the Lakers approached the game. "Got to respect them, they the champs and they always bring it," Thornton said. "The Lakers are going to go on their runs, the thing is, how are we going to respond to their runs? We get down, it's been times this year, we get down and I hate to say this, we pretty much just quit. I think we got scorers on this team that get the job done. But we've got to play unselfish, that's the key and you've got to make shots against the Lakers."

Sums up the season.

Posted by: bonggong | December 13, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

If EG is still interested in young players having trouble adjusting to the pro game a la Yi and Armstrong. According to David Aldridge on NBA.com

Grizz willing to deal Thabeet

Right now, teams are making their due diligence calls, but no signficant offers. But one name that is eminently available is Memphis's Hasheem Thabeet, who isn't one of the '10 free agent signees but is getting shopped hard by the Grizzlies, who have their center of the future in Marc Gasol. So the Grizz are looking to cut bait with the second pick in the '09 Draft, who's already had an NBA D-League stint, as soon as possible.

Posted by: bozomoeman | December 13, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

"Mars to Saunders: If you play any player 40 mins every game, he will get hurt. Period. No doubt about it. It must be a newsflash for you cause you never heard it before."
Posted by: rickgonz

Well if 40 minutes per game is going to guarantee injury, I guess it's a good thing Saunders isn't playing anyone that long.

Just out of curiosity I looked up the mpg for five randomly selected starting point guards (I figured you were implying that Wall was getting those minutes), and they were all playing 38 minutes (Wall 38.1, Williams 38.2, Rose 38.3, Felton 38.6, Rondo 38.7).

Posted by: Miks | December 13, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Wall has soreness in his right knee, possibly the result of overcompensating for the injury from his left foot. Why I am not surprized by this. Don't understand why they are pressing Wall to play with an injury that clearly has been bothering him. Not good.

Posted by: spades72 | December 13, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

It's gotta be tha shoes! death to the ReeZig

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 13, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Just watched a vid on Truthaboutit.net about Gil and Wall and executing and defending the Pick and Roll. None of that was really interesting. What i did find interesting was the coupla pair of Reebok Question sneakers in Wall's locker. If yall don't remember The Question, those were Iverson's first signature shoe. I dunno if Wall plans on making a switch, or if he's practicing in the Q's but playing in the Zigs (It would be super embarassing for Reebok if their new "Boy Wonder" won't play in HIS signature shoe), but it seems to me like there may be something more to this shoe/foot situation.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | December 13, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

"Grizz willing to deal Thabeet"

That's one we could see coming. Too much money, too little potential. Would make a serviceable center on the right club, however.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 13, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

The Wiz would be the team to trade for Thabeet. Another lottery pick bust that EG picks up. After all we are accumulating young "talent".

Posted by: Wizbullets88 | December 13, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

If Thabeet follows the Darko plan then he should be a serviceable rotation player . . . in 5 years or so.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 13, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

There won't be enough minutes for Thabeet and Greg Oden.

Posted by: djnnnou | December 13, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

"I'm not going to name the brand of shoe it was, but it has been banned from our locker room and the guys aren't allowed to wear it," Kander said. "These shoes had taken most of the support out of the sides and it was a lighter shoe. Most basketball shoes weigh between 1.4 and 1.7 pounds."

"These shoes were weighing 0.8 pounds, which was way too light as far as side support. Since we've banned the shoe, knock on wood, we haven't had any ankle sprains. Hopefully, the good Lord willing, we won't have any more and we can finish the season healthy and see what these guys can really do.

From last February's Pistons trainer banishes Nike Hyperize sneakers. Wall's shoe is also a lightweight design which seems kind of odd after reading, Why the Hightop Has One Foot in the Grave: Nash, Bryant Lead The Lowcut Trend; 'Better Mobility'.

Posted by: djnnnou | December 13, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Gil started the low cut trend...just saying!

Posted by: Wizbullets88 | December 13, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Nobody can accuse Thornton of being a quitter. Dude has played hard even if the stats don't always bear that out.
...
Flip might be wise to keep Thornton as the starter even when Josh returns.

Posted by: elfreako | December 13, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

"We get down, it's been times this year, we get down and I hate to say this, we pretty much just quit." - Al Thornton
(from the above article)

I guess you should amend your statement and say that nobody EXCEPT the actual guy can call himself a quitter! The fact is, Thornton is up and down, and that means he is undisciplined as a pro athlete. Who knows if he'll ever "get it"? Josh Howard may not be that much better but at least he was an all-star once upon a time. Get him in there and let's see if he can play at a consistent high level. At the very least, maybe he won't quit in games, like Al Thornton. Wow. I can't believe we are at this level, where we are just asking these dopes to not quit in games. Can we please get that D-League ball-boy who talked to Terrence Williams to come talk the Wizards?
http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/A-D-League-ballboy-gave-Terrence-Williams-a-wake?urn=nba-294858

Posted by: Janitor_with_a_Jumpshot | December 14, 2010 2:05 AM | Report abuse

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