- The Washington Times - Monday, March 7, 2005

The Washington Wizards will evaluate Antawn Jamison’s right knee again today, hoping it is nothing more than sore.

“We’ll get it checked [today],” Wizards president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld confirmed. “The good thing is that he walked off and he wasn’t limping. I don’t know. It could be tendinitis, but I really don’t know.”

Jamison, the Wizards’ third-leading scorer (20.0) and leading rebounder (8.0), left Washington’s 86-84 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday early in the third quarter and never returned.

The Wizards, who play nine of their next 11 games on the road, including tomorrow at New York, were given a much-needed day off yesterday. Nagging injuries have begun to pile up, and a serious injury to Jamison would leave them significantly short-handed.

Gilbert Arenas, the Wizards’ leading scorer at 25.5, woke up Saturday morning with a throbbing left knee.

“My knee’s killing me,” Arenas said Saturday. “I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if it was when I fell with [Golden State’s Mike] Dunleavy in the last game. I don’t know. I just know that when I woke up this morning I could barely walk. So I don’t know what is going on.”

Forward Jared Jeffries missed his fourth consecutive game Saturday but could be ready by tomorrow. Also out Saturday was Etan Thomas, who had flu-like symptoms Friday night and didn’t make the trip to Charlotte. His status for tomorrow is unknown as well. Plus, forward Jarvis Hayes will miss four-to-six weeks with a broken right kneecap.

The Wizards did get back Juan Dixon, who returned to the lineup after missing five games with a sprained right ankle. But by the end of Saturday’s game, their first road victory since Jan. 24, Washington was down to just nine available players.

With so many injuries, the Wizards were forced to rely heavily on the inside play of big men Brendan Haywood and Kwame Brown, and the two played crucial roles in leading the Wizards (33-25) past the Bobcats.

Haywood matched his season-high with 22 points, grabbed eight rebounds — six of them offensive — and controlled the lane defensively with four blocks. Brown was clutch, too, putting up season highs in both points (16) and rebounds (12).

And it was no coincidence Laron Profit was on the floor in the waning moments to make the game-winning tip-in: He was the only healthy small forward available.

“It’s definitely tough, losing guys and guys getting banged up,” said Larry Hughes, who missed 20 games with a broken right thumb. “That’s pretty much what happens at this point of the season. We’re way past the midpoint, and there is a lot of wear and tear.

“With the number of injuries we have, everybody has to be ready to step up. You never know when your number will be called, never know how many minutes you’ll play. We play the bulk of the minutes, but at any time somebody is going to have to step in and play smart.”

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