- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Washington Wizards power forward Kwame Brown will undergo surgery today to repair a fracture in the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot.

Brown suffered the injury Sunday during a pickup game in Georgia but is expected to recover fully by the start of training camp in October.

“He’ll be ready to go,” Wizards president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld said. “Our doctors are confident that the surgery will be successful and that Kwame will be ready for training camp.”

Brown, who was playing in a pickup game with college players, suffered the injury when he turned on his foot while leaping for the ball. According to Grunfeld, Brown knew something was wrong the moment he hit the ground. Brown was unavailable for comment yesterday.

X-rays showed the break Sunday night, and Brown notified the club of the injury and flew to Washington yesterday.

“It’s a shame because he was having such a great summer,” Grunfeld said of the 7-foot, 260-pound Brown. “The week before it happened he worked out with our coaches in Orlando for three days, and they all said he looked sharp. He’s disappointed because he’s worked so hard. But we will deal with it. Injuries are part of the game.”

This is a crucial season for Brown, who in 2001 became the first high school player picked No. 1 in the NBA Draft. Brown will be a restricted free agent at the end of next season.

Last season was the best of Brown’s three in the league. He averaged career highs in points (10.9) and rebounds (team-high 7.9). He finished the season with 20 double-doubles.

The 2004-05 NBA schedule was released yesterday, and Brown certainly will be available to the Wizards when they begin the season on the road at Memphis on Nov. 3. They play at expansion Charlotte on Nov. 4 and then play host to the Miami Heat and new center Shaquille O’Neal at MCI Center in their home opener Nov. 6.

The Wizards, who will join Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte and Orlando in the newly formed Southeast Division, will play a season-high nine home games in January. The Wizards will make five-game West Coast trips in both December and March.

The Wizards will face their division rivals four times each, twice on the road and twice at MCI. The only Eastern Conference teams that will make just one appearance in Washington are the Cleveland Cavaliers and the New York Knicks. The recently dismantled Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers will visit March 14.

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