- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 9, 2008

An MRI on Washington Wizardsforward Antawn Jamison’s right knee Wednesday revealed he has a knee contusion and will not miss any regular-season action. Meanwhile, the news on center Brendan Haywood’s right wrist was far graver.

Haywood’s wrist has a torn ligament that requires surgery to correct, so he will miss four to six months. The center, who first thought he had sprained the wrist, saw two specialists in New York on Wednesday, who both offered the same diagnosis.

Jamison suffered the strain four minutes into the team’s preseason opener Tuesday night in Dallas. He closed out on Dirk Nowitzki on the perimeter, and then Jamison’s knee buckled, leaving him writhing on the floor in pain.

The injury was first considered a sprain, but later in the game a team spokesman updated Jamison’s status to a strain. The MRI confirmed that Jamison will be ready for the season opener Oct. 29 against visiting New Jersey.

“Everything came back OK!” Jamison said Wednesday via text message. “Just going to miss a week or two.” The Wizards beat the Grizzlies 89-80 on Wednesday night in Memphis.

Jamison, who in June signed a four-year, $50 million contract extension, had one of the finest seasons of his career last season. The two-time All-Star averaged 21.4 points and 10.2 rebounds while leading the Wizards to their fourth straight playoff appearance.

Haywood also enjoyed a career year in 2007-08. He posted 10.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks while starting all 80 games in which he played. But he suffered what was considered a sprained ankle on Oct. 2 - the next-to-last day of training camp. Haywood returned to the District that night, and the original plan was for him to rest for a week and then be evaluated.

Haywood said Saturday he didn’t experience any excessive swelling, just pain. But Tuesday and Wednesday’s findings revealed the severity of the injury.

Without Haywood, Wizards coach Eddie Jordan must decide whether to start veteran Etan Thomas - who missed all of last season while recovering from heart surgery - or fourth-year forward Andray Blatche, who last season served as backup center.

The 6-foot-11, 255-pound Blatche averaged 11.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.9 rebounds in 15 starts last season. But he struggled to produce consistently and in years past has endured criticism for a poor work ethic. Blatche appeared to grasp what was expected of him this summer, however, spending nearly every day training to add 10 pounds of muscle to his frame.

He turned in a strong training camp and Tuesday led the Wizards against the Mavericks with 18 points, five rebounds, two steals and a block.

Haywood’s injury also could mean more playing time for rookie first-round pick JaVale McGee, whom Jordan had hoped to bring along slowly while McGee learned the team’s system and the NBA game.