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News » Wizards' Jamison to miss start of season

Wizards' Jamison to miss start of season

Wizards' Jamison to miss start of seasonWashington Wizards forward Antawn Jamison will miss the first three to five weeks of the regular season with a shoulder injury he suffered earlier this month, another blow to a club that has had three consecutive seasons marred by injuries.

The two-time All-Star partially separated his right shoulder Oct. 14 during a preseason game in Cleveland. Jamison underwent an MRI the next day; it revealed a high amount of inflammation and a partial separation. At the time, the Wizards said Jamison would miss the last two weeks of the preseason, then be re-evaluated.

The club said Friday a follow-up MRI revealed no further damage. Still, on Tuesday in Dallas the Wizards will start the season for the second straight year with one of their cornerstone players sidelined by injury. All-Star guard Gilbert Arenas was recovering from a third knee surgery when Washington opened the 2008-09 campaign.

Arenas and starting center Brendan Haywood played a combined eight games last season, when the Wizards slumped to a conference-worst record of 19-63. Forward Caron Butler, the third of the team's marquee players, also missed considerable playing time the past three seasons because of injury.

But the missing player this time will be Jamison, who led the club in scoring and rebounding each of the past two seasons. A three- to five-week recovery means Jamison would miss roughly five to 10 games. Jamison said Friday he hopes to return in three weeks.

"Originally they said four weeks from the initial injury, so that's what I'm waiting for," he said. "I'm able to do more and more each day, so I'm still just waiting for them to clear me so I can get back out there."

Jamison's optimism stems from the improvement he has made since he was injured. Two days after his initial MRI, he was beginning to regain flexibility in the shoulder. He resumed weightlifting Tuesday and said he now has full range of motion. He wanted to try shooting, but the team's medical staff has yet to clear him to do so.

Meanwhile, the Wizards will be in search of a way to replace the team-high 18.7 points and 8.5 rebounds he averaged in the preseason before getting hurt.

"It's the nature of the game for people to go down with injury, but fortunately it's not going to be a long-term thing with Antawn," team president Ernie Grunfeld said. "It gives someone else the opportunity to step up and help us while Antawn's out, and we have people that can do that. But it's going to be done as a collective effort obviously."

In the three preseason games since Jamison got hurt and before Friday night's game in Chicago, coach Flip Saunders alternated between Fabricio Oberto, who primarily has played center during his NBA career, and forward/center Andray Blatche, who had been Jamison's top backup.

Oberto isn't the offensive force Jamison is, averaging just 2.3 points during the preseason entering Friday. But he is a strong rebounder - he pulled down nine in a start Tuesday - and is one of the team's best half-court defenders.

Blatche, entering his fifth season, was averaging 11.3 points and seven rebounds entering Friday. However, Saunders said he might start Oberto and bring Blatche off the bench since he is comfortable doing just that.

"Andray is going to get a lot of time," Saunders said. "He's played really well for us. It might be a time where I bring him off and get him prepared for that role so that when Antawn comes back, he continues in that role."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 24, 2009


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