- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Washington Wizards rookie forward Andray Blatche, shot in the chest early Sunday morning, was released from Inova Fairfax Hospital yesterday.

“He is doing well, and we are very encouraged by his progress,” Wizards president of basketball operations Ernie Grunfeld said.

According to police, Blatche was a passenger along with two others early Sunday morning in Alexandria when they noticed a light-colored van pull up behind them. Two men wearing masks ran alongside the car and ordered Blatche out of the car and then shot him once in the upper chest.

After one of Blatche’s companions called 911, police and paramedics responded to the call and had Blatche flown to the hospital in a helicopter.

When Blatche, a 6-foot-11, 19-year-old taken with the 49th overall pick in the 2005 draft, arrived at Inova he was listed as critical but stable. By Monday his condition had improved significantly, so much so that Blatche was eating and walking around his room and, according to a team source, anticipating an early release.

Initially it was assumed by the team that the injury would prevent Blatche, who played at South Kent (Conn.) Prep last year, from participating in training camp, which begins Tuesday at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Siegel Center.

But his presence in training camp has not been ruled out.

“At this time, it is too early to determine a timetable for his return,” Grunfeld said of Blatche, who signed a two-year contract with the Wizards this summer.

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