- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 2, 2009

MEMPHIS, Tenn. | Gilbert Arenas was not likely to play for the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night at Memphis, but the team did get good news about an unexpected availability.

Center Brendan Haywood, who has been out all season after undergoing wrist surgery in training camp, will come off the bench against the Grizzlies and is set to play about 20 minutes, coach Ed Tapscott said.

“We got a nice surprise today,” Tapscott said. “I got a knock on my hotel door today, and Brendan Haywood came in and said he wanted to give it a go tonight. He said he thought he had enough practice to at least give it a chance to play. The first thing I asked him, ‘This isn’t an April Fools’ joke is it?’ I was delighted. He said, ‘No.’ ”

As for Arenas, Tapscott said the team will stick with the plan and not allow him to play in back-to-back games. The Wizards return home Thursday to host LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“He’s always a game-time decision, but I don’t think so tonight,” Tapscott said. “We said we would try to stay away from any back-to-back situations. If we have a back-to-back like this, considering who he is, I think we owe it to our fans to let them see him if he’s going to go in a back-to-back.”

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