Andray Blatche was looking forward to returning to the Wizards‘ lineup on March 3, after suffering a calf injury that kept him out for five weeks. He played in nine games. His return was at best, unsuccessful and at worst, disastrous.
In his ninth game, he played five minutes, scored no points and looked winded and lost. After that, Wizards coach Randy Wittman made the decision to pull Blatche from the team’s rotation, and allow him the chance to work on his conditioning.
Blatche said he agreed with the decision.
“The coach actually had a talk with me and said ‘I feel bad for you with what I’m putting you through. You should take more time off and get yourself back ready to be the player that this organization knows you are,’” Blatche said.
“I have nobody to blame for my bad year. It was all me,” Blatche said. He understands why the fans have been so rough on him this year, and why he gets booed almost from the moment he steps on the court.
“It was tough the first couple times I [was] booed,” Blatche admitted. “But I had a lot of talks with my mom, my family and everybody. My mom told me basically I put myself in that situation the way I’ve been playing, the way I’ve been handling things. So she said, ‘It’s up to you to dig yourself out of this hole.’ So I really take full responsibility for how things have been going for me this season.”
Blatche has averaged 8.5 points and 5.8 rebounds this year, his lowest totals since the 2007-08 season. Last season, Blatche posted career highs with 16.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, making the falloff in his production both dramatic and disturbing. The Wizards‘ were actively seeking to trade the 6-foot-11 power forward, but found no takers.
Blatche’s future with the Wizards organization, long and short term, remains in question. Blatche said he’d like to return for the final month of the season, but sounded less than optimistic that a return this season was a legitimate possibility, and was already looking ahead to his summer workout plans.
As for Blatche’s future, the team has the option of using the amnesty provision to release Blatche, who may benefit from a fresh start in another city, and fans who are willing to give him that opportunity.
“I can’t go home at night and say (to heck with) them, cause they don’t know nothing, but they do,” Blatche said of the Verizon Center fans who shower him with boos on a regular basis.
“They’re the fans, they see it. My mom sees it. This was a bad year, one of my worst ones ever. I let my mom down, my family down, my teammates, the whole organization down this season. So I’m just focusing on this whole rest of the time this summer just getting myself back to where I need to be.”