- The Washington Times - Friday, October 16, 2009

The Washington Wizards learned Thursday they will be without two-time All-Star forward Antawn Jamison for at least the rest of the preseason, a day after he partially dislocated his right shoulder in a preseason game in Cleveland.

An MRI showed Jamison suffered a subluxation of the joint, meaning his shoulder popped out and back in, when he collided with Cleveland center Zydrunas Ilgauskas with 4:33 left in the first quarter.

Jamison jumped to try to block a shot and was coming down on the 7-foot-3 Ilgauskas while the center was going up. When Jamison’s arm collided with his counterpart’s shoulder, it bent awkwardly.

While leaving Quicken Loans Arena with his shooting arm in a sling, Jamison said he didn’t hear any popping noises, which he believed would have indicated a total dislocation. But he did feel some movement in the joint.

Jamison lost all feeling in his fingers and arm and immediately hurried to the locker room with team athletic trainer Eric Waters.

In a statement released by the Wizards on Thursday evening, team president Ernie Grunfeld said Jamison will be re-evaluated next week once the inflammation subsides.

Until then, the Wizards won’t know when they’ll have their leading scorer and rebounder back on the court. While playing for Chicago last preseason, former Wizards guard Larry Hughes dislocated his shoulder; he returned to action Nov. 13. A more severe case was experienced by Dwyane Wade, who fully dislocated his shoulder in February 2007 and eventually underwent surgery that May.

But Jamison, 33, and the Wizards are proceeding with cautious optimism.

Despite still feeling a good deal of pain Wednesday night, Jamison had hoped to be back on the court by Tuesday’s game in Philadelphia.

“I’m always a quick healer,” he said. “The most important thing is to make sure that it’s healthy.”

While eager to return, he said he didn’t want to rush back prematurely.

It’s the second straight preseason in which Jamison has been injured. Last October, he sprained his knee in the preseason opener against Dallas. He returned about two weeks later.

With Jamison hurt, the Wizards will start his backup, Andray Blatche - a fifth-year, 6-foot-11 forward/center - at power forward. Blatche has averaged 12.2 points and 7.6 rebounds this preseason, but his previous seasons have been plagued by inconsistency.

If Jamison isn’t ready for the regular season, the Wizards - already short on big men - enter the regular season with Blatche as their only legitimate option at power forward. Fabricio Oberto, acquired in the offseason to back up center Brendan Haywood, can play some power forward. But given his age (34), the Wizards hope to limit his minutes so he’ll be able to make meaningful contributions in the postseason.