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News » Haywood anticipates quick return

Haywood anticipates quick return

Haywood anticipates quick returnIn less than a week's time, the Washington Wizards saw two of their key players go down with injuries in preseason games. They were relieved to find out Brendan Haywood's injury wasn't that serious, and now they are hoping the same will apply to Antawn Jamison.

Haywood was back on the practice court Saturday having fully recovered from a sprained right ankle suffered in the team's preseason home game Oct. 9 against Dallas. The ninth-year veteran center experienced no limitations or lingering effects from the injury and is expected to play in Monday's preseason game at Atlanta.

"The ankle feels pretty good. Just trying to go out there, get in the flow of things," Haywood said. "I probably lost a little bit of conditioning being out five days, but I'll be fine."

The return of the Wizards' defensive anchor should help shore up the team's rebounding, which has been a weakness in the past four preseason games.

The Wizards got another encouraging sign Saturday regarding Jamison. The forward, who partially dislocated his right shoulder Wednesday against Cleveland and is expected to miss at least the next two weeks, was on hand during practice, though he didn't participate. Instead, Jamison worked on his conditioning by riding a stationary bike, and his presence was much appreciated.

"His shoulder's progressed the last couple of days, so it was good. He doesn't have much pain in it, so that's a good sign, too," coach Flip Saunders said. "It's good to have guys around, especially your captains, who have been extremely vocal. Sometimes [it's] out of sight, out of mind. ... Even when guys are hurt, I don't like them in the training room. I like to have them on the court to at least see what we're doing and the concepts and all that."

Jamison still has to have another MRI late next week before the Wizards know the extent of the damage, but he and his teammates remain optimistic the team will be whole again soon.

"It's not that bad. Brendan had an ankle injury, and he's back. Antawn should be back shortly," Caron Butler said. "So it's not as bad as it could be. We're fortunate of that. Injuries happen. I'd rather have them happen now than at the end of the season like they normally do [for the Wizards ]. I'm not nervous at all. I'm still excited, optimistic and looking forward to the season."

If the Wizards get Jamison back quickly, they believe their chances of a fast start this season - as opposed to their slow starts the past three years - are greatly improved.

"As far as two guys on this team that you really can't afford to go down, that's myself and Antawn because there's not a lot of depth behind us and there's no one that does what [Jamison] does," Haywood said. "He's a [power forward who] gets 20 and 10 inside and stretches the court to the 3-point line. That creates spacing for guys like myself, Gilbert [Arenas] and Caron, so we wish him a speedy recovery."

But the Wizards' other injured player, backup point guard Javaris Crittenton, remains in a holding pattern. Crittenton has been out since the end of training camp after aggravating a double bone bruise and ligament damage in his left foot during the summer.

The third-year point guard, who was battling Randy Foye and Mike James for minutes behind Arenas, has been wearing a protective boot since the first week of October. He had an MRI on Friday, but the results showed he still has a good deal of fluid around two of the three ligaments in his foot.

Crittenton will continue to sport the boot in hopes the injury will heal. He will have another MRI next week and proceed from there.

Crittenton knows he will be behind when he finally returns, and in the meantime he is limited as to what he can do to stay sharp. But he has continued to work on his shooting form, taking shots from close range and doing a bit of cardio work as he tries to maintain his conditioning and high spirits.

"That's tough. I'm doing everything I can. I was on the elliptical machine; I'm about to go to the pool right now. You can't compare it to running on that floor out there, but still it's something," Crittenton said. "The coaches, they talk to me. The players [say], 'Keep your head up.' But I don't really want no sympathy from nobody; I just want to get back out there on the court with the fellas."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 19, 2009


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