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News » Down the stretch

Down the stretch

Down the stretch
Mike Jones of The Washington Times breaks down five story lines for Washington Wizards fans to follow after the All-Star break:

Trade deadline

The Wizards have received a steady flow of calls about captains Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler but have rebuffed every one of them. Etan Thomas and Mike James, who both come off the books in 2009-10, have been the subject of rumors, but nothing has materialized. That doesn't mean something can't happen before Thursday's deadline - but it's unlikely.

Maturation of young players

A thin roster has given Washington's developing players minutes they likely wouldn't have gotten otherwise. After the young players took their lumps during the pre-All-Star stretch, the youth-related excuses are over, and they will be expected to step up.

The healthy return of Arenas

There is no firm return date for the three-time All-Star, but the Wizards hope to get Gilbert Arenas back on the court at some point this season regardless of how poor the team's record is. The $111 million man has ramped up his knee rehab in the past two weeks.

The healthy return of Haywood

Like Arenas, Brendan Haywood has intensified his rehab while trying to return this season from surgery that repaired torn ligaments in his right wrist. A healthy Haywood would mean the return of Washington's best center and top defensive presence in the paint.

Lottery positioning

Wizards management and players remain adamant that they would rather finish strong this season and lay a foundation for next year than vie for the top spot in the lottery - regardless of how talented Blake Griffin and Ricky Rubio are. As of right now, they're 11-42 and a half-game out of last place.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: February 17, 2009


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