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Posted at 12:08 PM ET, 02/ 9/2011

Al Thornton is out against Milwaukee

By Michael Lee

Reserve forward Al Thornton will miss Wednesday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks with a dislocated right middle finger. Thornton sustained the injury while attempting to make a steal on Monday in practice. He popped the finger back in place, but has been limited.

What? You need me at the three? (Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

"It really swelled up and it's his right hand, so he has problems catching the ball," Coach Flip Saunders said at the morning shootaround. "He'll be out. We'll have 11 guys."

The Wizards will also be without Yi Jianlian, who sprained his left ankle in the fourth quarter of their 99-92 loss to the Atlanta Hawks last Saturday.

Thornton has been a slump of late. After scoring 12 points in a loss at Memphis, Thornton had just 12 points combined in his past four games, although he did have the most ferocious dunk of the season against Atlanta.

"I would say he's day-to-day," Saunders said about Thornton. "I would be surprised if he's not back Saturday, plus we'll have a few more days to rest or practice."

Saunders said the Wizards would likely play Nick Young and Trevor Booker some at small forward against the Bucks, with Josh Howard not expected to return from his left knee injury until Saturday against San Antonio. He said that he is attempting to move Booker to small forward in an effort to get the energetic workhorse on the floor more.

Booker, though, said he was unaware of those plans until he read them on the Internet. "My homeboy texted me, like, 'You're moving to the three?' I was like, 'Uh, no.' He was like, 'Check out this article.' Then I read it, I was like 'Okay, I am.' "

The 6-foot-7 Booker was drafted as an undersized power forward, but is arguably the most athletic player on the team, as he clocked in with a faster time in the three-quarter-court sprint in the NBA combine. He said moving to small forward would be an adjustment.

"It's a lot different, because I was mainly at the four. But now that I'm moving to the three, I got to learn both positions, so that's a little different," Booker said. "The more I work with it, the more I feel comfortable. We'll see where it goes. Right now, he's having me work on my jump shot and work on my jump hook because if I play the three position, I'm going to have smaller guys on me, so I can just turn around, shoot the jump hook."

Saunders said Booker has been playing well since he started in place of JaVale McGee two weeks ago in Oklahoma City and Memphis. Booker has recorded career highs in scoring (21 points), rebounds (12) and blocked shots (six) since then.

"My confidence is definitely higher. At the beginning of the season, it was pretty low," Booker said. "But now I'm just trying to stay more consistent and just keep working hard. No, not realy. It's a learning process, though. I'm still learning, as the season goes on, it's going to get better."

By Michael Lee  | February 9, 2011; 12:08 PM ET
Categories:  Al Thornton, Flip Saunders, Josh Howard, Trevor Booker, Yi Jianlian  
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Next: John Wall back to work after brief visit at Kentucky


If Saunders wants to get Booker on the floor more, how about dialing back Blatche's minutes and letting Booker play to his strengths at PF rather than moving him to an unfamiliar position?

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 9, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

If Saunders wants to get Booker on the floor more, how about dialing back Blatche's minutes and letting Booker play to his strengths at PF rather than moving him to an unfamiliar position?

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 9, 2011 1:24 PM

Couldn't agree more sounds like a common sense decision.

Posted by: bonggong | February 9, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Um, Trevor booker is awesome, very gifted, I love him. But there is not a chance on earth he is "more athletic" than either John Wall or Nick Young.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 9, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Let's hope that Trevor had a real good practice today. At Small Forward he's gonna need a reliable jumpshot. I'm in agreement with kalo_rama that it would be better to have Booker share minutes with Dray at Power Forward. Why can't Cartier Martin get more minutes at the Three? Cartier is getting no playing time on this team.

Posted by: musicmanjr | February 9, 2011 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if that's Journey that Booker is groovin' to? We know he's a fan.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 9, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

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