Wizards G Crawford ready to step up as team’s injuries mount

Newly-signed Pargo’s injury leaves team thin at PG

With injuries at guard mounting for the Washington Wizards, more pressure will be on Jordan Crawford to function seamlessly between playing point guard and his natural position at shooting guard.

The easygoing Crawford isn’t concerned.

“When Coach [Randy Wittman] asks me to play point, I’m going to play the point,” Crawford said. “It’s as simple as that. I’ll try to do it the best way I can. You have to just be a coach on the floor so he doesn’t have to get up and call all the plays.”

Crawford may be pressed into service as the team’s options at point guard dwindle. Starter John Wall is out for at least eight weeks with a stress injury to his left patella. Veteran guard Jannero Pargo signed with the team on Monday and promptly got hurt the next day, leaving Shelvin Mack and A.J. Price as the team’s top prospects to replace Wall.

But Crawford, known as a very confident player who likes to shoot, said he’s reached the point where he understands what Wittman wants from him and is ready to take on a leadership role in his third season, including playing out of position when necessary.

Less than a week into camp, Wittman says he’s already seen the kind of growth from Crawford that he’s seeking.

“I’ll tell you about Jordan,” Wittman said. “It’s his three best practices I’ve ever seen him have. It’s maturity, it’s growing up a little bit. That’s a testament to him.”

Crawford, who averaged 14.7 points and 3.0 assists last year, trained in Los Angeles over the summer and said he worked on his spot-up shooting, coming off curls and leadership.

“I think he probably had one of the better summers probably than anybody on the team, in terms of his growth and understanding of me and things he’s going to have to do to take that next step,” Wittman said.

“We did a lot of that talking, and I’ve seen the result of that. He’s doing a lot of the walking now out on the floor and showing me that.”

Pargo did not participate in an open scrimmage in front of several hundred fans at George Mason University on Thursday. He injured himself on the first day of training camp while making what he called a routine cross-court pass.

“I felt something pull or something,” Pargo said. “I’m not too sure what it is right now. I’m thinking maybe cartilage, like, attached to the ribs. But we’re not sure right now. I didn’t get hit. That’s the scary part about it.”

Pargo is scheduled for an X-ray on Friday.

“It’s really tough [to be hurt],” Pargo said. “Especially when I know all the guys are hurting. We’ve been going really hard the last three days. It hurts to be out and watch them go through practice and not be out there with them.”

Pargo also sat out the morning training camp session on Friday, a light day for the team.

“He’s got some soreness in the rib area,” Wittman said. “This morning was more of a maintenance day for our guys, redoing everything that we’ve put in, no contact at all this morning.”

The Wizards began training camp with two-a-day sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday and took Thursday morning off before the open scrimmage Thursday evening. The team will hold two-a-days on Friday and a morning session only on Saturday before heading to Charlotte for their first preseason game on Sunday against the Bobcats.

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