- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Washington Wizards are shutting down injured forward Antawn Jamison for at least the next two games, but a source with knowledge of the situation said he’ll need more time to fully recover.

“His knee could use significant rest right now,” the source said. “He’s going to have to back off it … if he’s going to really help again.”

Jamison, suffering from a worsening case of tendinitis in his right knee, acknowledged after practice yesterday that he has probably set himself back with his insistence on playing in recent games.

“I think I’ve set myself back because I’m so anxious to get back out there,” said Jamison, who did not practice yesterday. “I think they are going to sit me out for a couple of games. I just want to make sure that it’s healthy for the end of the season, which is the important stretch, which would be the end of the season and the playoffs. If it was up to me I’d be out there on one leg. But that wouldn’t be smart.”

After seeing his NBA-best string of 386 straight games played end in a March 8 loss at the New York Knicks, Jamison thought the four days off between the Knicks game and Sunday’s game at Boston would help his recovery.

Jamison played 36 minutes against the Celtics and finished with 14 points and two rebounds in the 105-101 loss. However, Jamison had trouble moving the entire game and limped through the final three quarters. Afterward, he spent significant time in the training room.

The Wizards (34-27) would have preferred for Jamison to sit out Monday’s 95-81 rout of the Los Angeles Lakers at MCI Center. Jamison played but lasted just eight minutes before limping off the court.

Washington can’t afford to lose Jamison for an extended stretch. Going into last night’s games, the Wizards had the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. However, they were just five games better than the Philadelphia 76ers, the ninth-best team.

While he could be back as early as Saturday, when the Wizards play host to Utah, Jamison hardly resembles the player who was selected to his first All-Star Game last month and is averaging 19.6 points and 7.8 rebounds.

“He’s going to get some rest of over the next few days, at least,” Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said.

With Jamison out of the lineup tonight against Atlanta (11-52), the Wizards will reinsert Kwame Brown as a starter. Though Brown is far from being 100 percent healthy because of nagging problems with his right foot, he provided a physical presence on the inside as he finished with nine points and 11 rebounds against the Lakers.

Brown adds size to the Wizards’ front line, giving them a pair of 7-footers (along with Brendan Haywood) to play alongside 6-foot-11 Jared Jeffries.

“It makes us bigger,” guard Larry Hughes said. “But it also creates another challenge for us. Kwame’s a big body and he takes away some of the lanes to the basket. But we’ll get him involved down there and some good things will happen from it.”

While Jamison’s injury isn’t perceived as being too serious, the same can’t be said for reserve forward Jarvis Hayes, who hasn’t played since fracturing a kneecap in the Wizards’ 110-108 loss to Sacramento on Feb. 27.

Hayes was expected to be out four to six weeks, which would put him on schedule for a return sometime next month. Hayes now is concerned he might miss the remainder of the season.

“Hopefully I’ll be a fast healer,” he said. “But if it’s not healed in time for me to play, then I’ll just have to wait until next year.”

Since being diagnosed with the injury just more than two weeks ago, Hayes has yet to begin a rehab program.

“When you’ve got a cracked kneecap it’s going to take some time to heal, and that’s what he’s got,” Jordan said.

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