- The Washington Times - Friday, March 14, 2003

Often this season, the Washington Wizards have been forced to struggle without a full complement of players. Yesterday, though, it got as full as it's going to get.
Tyronn Lue, who had been on the injured list since shortly after being handed the starting point guard's job, was activated and will be in uniform for tonight's game in Detroit.
To make room for Lue, who separated his left shoulder against Houston on Feb.27, the Wizards released point guard Anthony Goldwire, who was in the middle of his second 10-day contract.
Lue, who missed six games, likely won't start immediately. In his absence, the Wizards started Juan Dixon and Larry Hughes. Hughes, who had 20 points, a season-high nine assists and no turnovers in Tuesday's 106-105 victory over Orlando, has played well of late.
Coach Doug Collins was noncommittal as to whether Hughes or Lue would start tonight, saying of Lue, "He'll be ready to roll. Starting-wise, I don't know what he'll be able to do."
Lue took the starting job from Hughes shortly after the All-Star break. But the two left MCI Center together yesterday, laughing and joking.
"I don't know what role Coach wants me in tomorrow," Lue said. "I just want to go out and contribute in any way I can. But I feel good. I'm very excited to be playing again. Today I was able to play with no pain, shoot with no pain. I got banged around a little today, and it didn't hurt."
Lue took his lumps in a practice that left Collins smiling afterward, mostly because he said it was the most spirited the Wizards have had "in the last three months."
This was a welcome relief to Collins, who in the last week has seen Michael Jordan rip his teammates' lack of effort and leading scorer Jerry Stackhouse question his offense.
Collins also was no doubt relieved that the Wizards, who had lost four of five games before beating the Magic, are still only one game behind Orlando for the seventh Eastern Conference playoff spot. Milwaukee has lost two straight, leaving the Bucks just a half-game ahead of the Wizards for the eighth and final place.
"Milwaukee loses twice, Orlando loses to us and Utah comes back and beats them, so we got some help," Collins said. "Now we've got to take advantage of other teams helping us."
The Wizards could be catching Detroit at the right time. The Pistons are coming off a big victory over the Los Angeles Lakers (111-88) on Wednesday and could be flat. The Wizards already have beaten Detroit (40-23) on the road, and despite the win over the Lakers, Detroit is just 3-7 in its last 10 games.
Though the Wizards are fortunate that the playoffs are still within reach, they are past the point where they can drop games and then hope that contenders like Milwaukee and Orlando stumble as well. According to Jordan, this is a loser's mentality, one the Wizards can't afford.
"Obviously, you think about what those teams have done the night before and that this is a good time for us to pick some ground up on them," Jordan said. "But it's more than just saying it. We have to go out and think about the way we've been playing and try to continue to play that way. We have confidence in Detroit, we beat them there earlier in the year and I'm quite sure they remember that. They beat us in Washington. We know we're capable of doing it; it's just a matter of going out there and doing it."

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