The Washington Times - November 9, 2009, 02:41PM

     The Washington Wizards’ familiar trend continues some more. Already without Mike Miller and Antawn Jamison and Javaris Crittenton, Washington now has lost backup point guard Mike James for four to five weeks with a broken left ring finger.

     He awkwardly hit his finger during Saturday’s practice and thought it was just a bad jam. He taped it up yesterday, hoping to get into his second straight game, but didn’t. Then today, he went for an x-ray and received the bad news. The news came as a shock for the Wizards, and James as well.


     “It’s just something freaking random, and I felt it pop, but I didn’t think it was nothing severe,” said James, who in his only appearance of the season on Friday had six points and three assists. “It felt more like a jam, and it winds up being – when I went to the doctor today, I just knew the news wasn’t going to be bad, and he was just going to tell me it was more like a sprain. I looked at the x-ray, and I had a nice few words for him. But it wasn’t his fault, and when I went to go put the cast on, I was fighting the doctor to put the cast on bcause I didn’t want a cast on again. But it’s not his fault neither.”

     It’s the second straight season in which James has suffered a broken finger. He had his 2008-09 campaign ended when he broke the pinky finger in the spring. He had been buried on the depth chart, and was struggling to stay sharp, and now has this bad break.

     “The only thing I can do now is just try to rehab, make sure that when this comes off that I’m ready,” James said. “It’s just the tale of the season I’ve been having so far. It’s on the ring finger by the knuckle. Now I got my pinky and my ring finger, cute little twins. They’d make a nice couple right now.”

     Today when practice was opened up the media, assistant coach Sam Cassell was on the floor wearing a jersey. It’s been a joke among reporters since Flip Saunders hired him, that Sam would try to talk Ernie Grunfeld into signing him to a 10-day contract.

     I jokingly asked Flip about Sam getting a 10-day, and he thought I was serious, unaware that word hadn’t reached us reporters about Mike’s finger. Then he explained what had happened to James.

     “Mike James is going to be out for probably five weeks,” Saunders said. “It’s the other hand. [ring finger], they took him this morning for X-rays so he’ll be out four to five weeks. We just found out. So he wasn’t there, that’s why we had Sam practice. And Gil had some soreness in his calf, so we kept him out as well.”

     Saunders by choice yesterday played only eight players, but now he has no choice but to use a slim rotation when the Wizards take on the Heat tomorrow in Miami. The coach said he expects to use almost all of the bodies at his disposal.

     “We’ll need to play more guys, maybe Sam,” he added with a grin.

     On his way out of Verizon Center, Cassell was asked about suiting up in practice and said, “I look pretty good for 39, don’t I?” He flexed and flashed a smile. Someone replied, “Yeah, get ready for D-Wade tomorrow.”  “No, sir!” Sam shot back with a laugh.

     A team insider says it’s unlikely that the Wizards will make any moves, however, because they expect reinforcements to arrive as soon as the end of this week as Antawn Jamison will return to full practice on Thursday. And Mike Miller, who was shooting one-handed free throws today, could return shortly there after.