- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 1, 2005

When Washington Wizards rookie forward Andray Blatche was shot on an Alexandria street a little after 6a.m. Sunday, many wondered what the 19-year-old was doing out at that time. But it won’t happen again, he vowed yesterday.

Blatche, speaking publically about the terrifying incident for the first time, said he learned a lesson.

“With me being so young, I shouldn’t be out that late to begin with,” he said. “I’m giving myself a curfew.”

Much about the shooting remains a blur to Blatche.

“My first thought after I got shot was, I was going to die,” he said. “But after a while I figured out everything was going to be OK, and I was cool.”

Blatche was one of three passengers in a vehicle that was the target of an apparent carjacking. He is prohibited from speaking about the incident because it is under police investigation.

Blatche, who was admitted to Inova Fairfax Hospital on Sunday morning with gunshot wounds to his left upper chest and right forearm, has made a quick recovery.

Listed in serious condition when first admitted, Blatche did not require surgery and was released Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, he visited his teammates, who are conducting informal workouts at MCI Center.

Although his recovery has been quicker than expected, Blatche confirmed yesterday what president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld said earlier in the week: He will attend training camp, which begins Tuesday at Virginia Commonwealth University, but will not participate.

Still, his speedy recovery has shocked him.

“I don’t know when I’ll be able to get back to playing, as soon as I get better,” said Blatche, who added that he already has begun rehabilitation sessions. “That could be next week, next month, whenever. I’m waiting to see what God has planned for me.”

The Wizards feel they got a steal when the 6-foot-11 Blatche, who is signed for two years, fell to them with the 49th pick in the NBA Draft. At South Kent (Conn.) Prep, Blatche averaged 27.5 points, 16 rebounds and six blocks.

Blatche also played well on the summer all-star circuit. He was particularly impressive at the Jordan Classic, winning co-MVP honors with a 26-point, 16-rebound game.

As a member of the Wizards’ summer league team in Las Vegas, Blatche averaged 9.2 points and 6.8 rebounds in July.

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