- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 1, 2003

The war of attrition that is the 82-game NBA season has made serious inroads on the Washington Wizards' point guards, sidelining first Larry Hughes and now Tyronn Lue.
That means it's finally Juan Dixon's time.
The heart and soul of Maryland's gripping drive to its first NCAA championship last season has by default been anointed the starting point guard for tonight's game against the Chicago Bulls at MCI Center.
"I didn't want it this way, but unfortunately Larry and Tyronn have gone down with injuries," Dixon said. "I've got to step in and do my job. I've got to go out there and play well. I have a lot of confidence in myself to get the job done."
Lue, who replaced Hughes as the starting point guard following the All-Star break, was placed on the injured list with a separated shoulder Thursday after he was hurt diving for a loose ball in the fourth quarter against Houston. Hughes is out for at least another week with a sprained ankle.
Meanwhile, the Wizards signed Anthony Goldwire to a 10-day contract. Goldwire, who last played with the Yakima Sun Kings of the CBA, has bounced between the CBA and the NBA since he was drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the second round in 1994. Goldwire most recently played for the San Antonio Spurs before being waived last December.
To make room for Goldwire, the Wizards released Brian Cardinal. Acquired in the Jerry Stackhouse-for-Richard Hamilton trade last September, Cardinal played in just five games this season.
The Wizards are believed to have wanted to add former Wizard Chris Whitney, who was released earlier this week by the Denver Nuggets. However, the Orlando Magic grabbed Whitney early Thursday morning.
Hughes, who was injured against New Orleans Feb.19, said Thursday that he hopes to be able to return by March9, when the Wizards play at New York.
"It's feeling pretty good right now," said Hughes, adding that he has trouble moving laterally. "I'm not going to rush it. It's tough for us now because we've got guys going down left and right."
Dixon, who is averaging 6.4 points and one assist in 23 games, learned he would start tonight after the Wizards' 100-98 dramatic overtime victory against the Houston Rockets on Thursday.
"I'm going to go out there and try to get the ball to the right people on the floor," said Dixon, an MCI Center crowd favorite because of his heroics at Maryland. "I've got to go out and just do my job. I've got to play hard, get the ball to [Michael Jordan] and [Jerry Stackhouse] and just do my best to run the team."
Jordan, who traveled to New York last night for the retirement of assistant coach Patrick Ewing's No.33 Knicks jersey at Madison Square Garden, is defying the laws of nature on an almost nightly basis. Since turning 40 last month, Jordan has averaged 30.6 points in five games.
Most recently, he played 50 minutes and scored 35 points including 10 of the Wizards' 12 overtime points against Houston. Jordan also played 41 minutes two nights earlier against Indiana.
Jordan wore a nylon sleeve over his right leg in the Houston game to keep warm his thigh, which was bruised against Indiana.
Coach Doug Collins is aware that Jordan is playing more minutes than he probably would like at this stage of the season. However, having coached Jordan when he was in his physical prime in Chicago back in the 1980s, Collins said Jordan was not concerned with minutes or anything else other than getting the Wizards to the playoffs.
"He's not going to leave anything in the tank," Collins said. "When you look in Michael's eyes, you can tell he's giving all he has right now. And he wants the other guys here to do the exact same thing."
Collins expects to get this kind of effort from Dixon, who was primarily a shooting guard at Maryland.
"I'm not worried about Juan," said Collins, noting that Jordan also will handle the ball to help relieve some of the load. "He knows that his job is to get the ball in play and he can do that."

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