- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 27, 2005

LOS ANGELES — The Washington Wizards, already missing one starter, received more bad news yesterday when they learned starting center Brendan Haywood could be out between two and four weeks with a dislocated thumb suffered in the final minute of the Wizards’ 98-94 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night.

Haywood, a fourth-year pro, was having his finest season, averaging career highs in points (9.4), rebounds (6.8) and blocks (1.63). Haywood has started 64 games this season for Washington (37-30).

Haywood was sent home yesterday and will be examined by a hand specialist in Washington to make sure there is no further damage.

“We have other guys who can step up and play his position,” Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. “We have adjusted all year to injuries and we have had success. We have to move forward.”

Etan Thomas will start in Haywood’s place. They are also considering activating rookie center Peter John Ramos to take Haywood’s roster spot.

Third-leading scorer Antawn Jamison (19.6), who also leads the Wizards in rebounding (7.8), is on the injured list with knee tendinitis. The All-Star forward is not expected to return until after the Wizards get back from this five-game road trip, which ends tomorrow at Portland.

In the Wizards’ loss to the Clippers, Haywood and power forward Kwame Brown had a shouting match on the bench, requiring players and coaches to keep them separated.

Haywood signed a five-year, $25million contract extension in November. He is shooting 56.1 percent from the floor, and he leads the team in blocks.

Today the Wizards face Seattle (48-20), which has the fourth-best record in the NBA.

Injuries are piling up for the Wizards. Along with the two starters, reserve guard Juan Dixon remains questionable with an ankle injury and the Wizards might be without Jarvis Hayes (broken kneecap) at least until the end of the regular season.

The club has not estimated when Hayes will return, and he has been limited in his rehabilitation.

Note — Gilbert Arenas and Larry Hughes combined to score 54 of the Wizards’ 94 points on Friday, taking 50 shots in the process. Arenas (11-for-28) and Hughes (9-for-22) took the bulk of the Wizards’ 83 field goal attempts.

Since the Wizards’ began this Western road trip in Denver, where they were blown out 127-98, Arenas and Hughes have taken 124 of the team’s 227 shots (54.6 percent) and the team has gone 1-2.

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