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Posted at 9:59 PM ET, 02/21/2011

Rashard Lewis, Nick Young return to practice after using all-star break to rest injured knees

By Gene Wang

The all-star break provided the Washington Wizards, most of them anyway, with their first and only in-season occasion for extended repose. Considering their recent spate of injuries and what they must confront the rest of this week, those four-plus days of liberty could not have come at a more suitable juncture.

Guard Nick Young and forward Rashard Lewis, both starters who are nursing ailments, benefited significantly from the time away. Young has a sore left knee that required an MRI exam on Thursday morning after he missed Wednesday's loss to Orlando. The results were negative, and Young indicated he would play on Tuesday night against Indiana, barring a setback.

Lewis has missed the past three games with tendinitis in his right knee, and he also said the plan was to play against the Pacers. Both Young and Lewis practiced on Monday night in the team's first workout in nearly a week.

"Knee's better, most definitely a lot better," Lewis said. "Got rid of a lot of the pain. It still was a little uncomfortable, but at the same time, I think I haven't played a basketball game in like ten days, so not only the knee bothering me, but I was tired. I got to get my wind back up, get my butt back into game shape."

he welcome-back practice included participation from all players on the roster except guard Kirk Hinrich, a top reserve who got kicked in the calf during Washington's victory over Cleveland on Feb. 13. Hinrich's status, according to Coach Flip Saunders, "at best is probably 50-50."

Other injury concerns for the Wizards immediately before the break were to swingman Josh Howard and forward Al Thornton. Howard played two straight games before the break after missing 19 in a row with tendinitis in his left knee, and Thornton was managing a dislocated finger on his right hand.

Saunders said he expected Howard to play and that he considered Thornton "better than 50-50."

The Wizards' schedule this week comprises four games in five nights in two sets of back-to-backs. Following the home game against Indiana, they travel to Philadelphia and Miami before coming back to Verizon Center to face Dallas. All four of those opponents at the moment are playoff teams, and the Heat and Mavericks remain in the mix for the best record in the league.

"We'll probably have to use a lot of people just because of the situation," Saunders said. "When you're off for four or five days and you come back, and you do have four [games] in five days in different cities and you're traveling and everything else, fatigue can lead to injuries, so you've got to be alert to that."

By Gene Wang  | February 21, 2011; 9:59 PM ET
Categories:  Al Thornton, Josh Howard, Kirk Hinrich, Nick Young, Rashard Lewis  | Tags:  Nick Young, Rashard Lewis, Wizards injuries  
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Next: Carmelo Anthony traded to New York Knicks, finally


That Knicks trade is pretty goofy -- but I imagine Denver had little choice. If NY advances in the playoffs, I suppose it was worth it...

Posted by: Samson151 | February 21, 2011 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Assuming that the deal is actually done:

I actually think the Nuggets did pretty well, given that they would have lost him for nothing at the end of the season. They got good young talent, size, and some picks.

The Knicks, on the other hand, lend credence to reports about Isiah Thomas being the team's shadow GM. because this is just the kind of deal the Knicks would have made when he was officially in charge: a quick strike heavy on flash and hype over a well-planned build up. They gutted a good team with a solid foundation for improvement, for a guy whose numbers have never equaled his impact. Until he proves otherwise, Anthony is Vince Carter 2.0 as far as I'm concerned. They also traded 60% their starting lineup and only got 2 starters back, one of whom will be 35 when next season starts (assuming they don't trade him before then). Stoudemire will be 29 when next season starts with a lot of mileage, and their already negligible depth just got a lot more shallow.

I'm sure NYers will be all wet and giddy, but I have a hard time seeing that the Knicks are really a much better team now than they were before this deal happened. I still wouldn't bet on them overtaking Atlanta for the #5 playoff spot, let alone getting into the top 4. They basically put themselves into something of a win-now scenario with a 1.5 season window, because after Billups is gone they're gonna have a big hole at PG that's gonna be tough to fill.

Posted by: kalo_rama | February 22, 2011 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Anthony and Stoudemire guarantee that the Knicks will be interesting to watch.

But as a team they are still missing signficant pieces to a championship team.

No interior defense. No one to be a distributor from the backcourt.

If the Knicks can sign Chris Paul and then go out and get a couple of bangers to play in the paint and eat up fouls, then they may emerge in the East.

Right now, they are a middling team, somewhere around #4 or #5 seed in the East that is going to have to outscore opponents to win games because they aren't going to stop anyone.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | February 22, 2011 12:32 PM | Report abuse

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