- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 18, 2005

LOS ANGELES — The Washington Wizards are hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself, but one source is saying that it already has.

The Wizards (9-12) — who fell to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night 97-91, thanks to Kobe Bryant’s 45th career 40-point effort — sent starting shooting guard Jarvis Hayes home from Los Angeles yesterday for further examinations of his troublesome right knee, which forced him from Friday’s loss just five minutes into the game.

While the Wizards on Friday would only say that Hayes will have his knee further evaluated when he returns to Washington, one source close to the team said Hayes had indeed re-injured — perhaps even re-fractured — the right patella that forced him to miss the team’s final 28 games and go through a grueling rehab that kept him off the court for more than seven months.

Hayes, who limped badly through the bowels of Staples Center as he made his way to the team bus, was clearly distraught as he explained the injury, which he said occurred when he planted his right leg and tried to make a hard cut.

“I can’t really describe it. It’s disappointing,” Hayes said. “I bumped it a little bit. Hopefully we’ll find out something soon.”

Hayes started in 13 of 21 games and had been playing well lately. He scored 19 points against New Jersey on Tuesday, hitting seven of 12 shots from the floor, including four of five from 3-point range. For the season, he is averaging 9.3 points and 3.6 rebounds.

Wizards coach Eddie Jordan did not say who would replace Hayes in the starting lineup but he undoubtedly would choose between guards Chucky Atkins and Antonio Daniels, although neither player has distinguished himself this season.

Atkins, who last week said he hoped to be traded because of limited playing time, has made one start this season. He is averaging 6.1 points and is shooting just 36.3 percent from the floor. Daniels, who started eight games before Jordan moved him to the bench in favor of Hayes, is averaging just 4.4 points and shooting just 30 percent from the field.

Last season, the Wizards also had a player injured at Staples Center. Against the Los Angeles Clippers, center Brendan Haywood fractured his thumb and was out 10 games.

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