- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 21, 2009

SEEN AND HEARD AT FORD CENTER

OKLAHOMA CITY - Always looking for ways to get more out of his players, Wizards coach Flip Saunders canceled the morning shootaround for the second straight game to allow his team to get extra rest.

Instead of the traditional midmorning shootaround, the coach held a 3 p.m. planning meeting with his players at the team hotel before they headed over to Ford Center. Portland, New York and Boston have made similar moves this season to keep their players fresher.

“Rest is important,” Saunders said. “Especially when we were gone for so long and then had a chance to get home. A lot of times in the mornings when you know you’ve got to get up, you start looking at the clock. When you know you can sleep in, you get a better rest.”

It’s the second time this week that Saunders has altered the game-day routine. On Wednesday, rather than having a morning shootaround, Saunders held a 4:45 p.m. walk-through for the Cleveland game.

“It makes sense, especially at home,” the coach said. “Guys come in [for the morning shootaround] and by the time they get out of the locker room, it’s 12 or 12:30, and they might get home around 1 or 1:15, and then they’ve got to turn around in a couple hours and come back out with the traffic.

“And sometimes going through what you want to do against a team in late afternoon, it’s fresher in their mind and you remember what you want to do and what you have to execute,” Saunders said.

TODAY’S GAME

WASHINGTON WIZARDS at SAN ANTONIO SPURS

When: 8:30 p.m.

Where: AT&T; Center

TV/radio: CSN, 106.7 FM

Probable starters: Wizards - F Caron Butler, F Antawn Jamison, C Brendan Haywood, G Gilbert Arenas, G Mike Miller. Spurs - F Richard Jefferson, F Tim Duncan, C Theo Ratliff, G Keith Bogans, G George Hill.

Injuries: Wizards - Questionable: C/F Fabricio Oberto (hamstring), G Mike Miller (shoulder). Out: G Javaris Crittenton (foot), G Mike James (broken finger). Spurs - Out: G Manu Ginobili (groin), G Tony Parker (ankle).

Outlook: The Wizards have lost at San Antonio nine straight times. But Tony Parker has played only six games this season, and now Manu Ginobili is out with a strained groin. The Wizards expect to get Fabricio Oberto back after a two-game absence because of a sore left hamstring. Saunders said the forward-center probably could have played at Oklahoma City on Friday, but with a date with his former team the next day, he gave him the night off.

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