- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 3, 2009

SEEN AND HEARD AT TD BANKNORTH GARDEN

BOSTON — The Washington Wizards got Caron Butler back Friday after he missed three games with a sprained ankle, but they lost shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson. He said before the game he will miss roughly 2 1/2 weeks while receiving treatment for lower back pain.

After averaging 11.1 points the past three seasons, Stevenson has struggled this season, averaging just 6.9 points on 31.8 percent shooting, including 28.2 percent from 3-point range. He had battled nerve damage in his legs since training camp and said Friday that back trouble had bothered him all season too.

It turns out the two are connected. Stevenson had an X-ray on Thursday, which revealed a disk in his back is slightly off and pinching a nerve, causing pain to shoot down his legs.

“It’s tough, especially in the type of situation we’re in; I feel like I’m leaving my teammates hanging,” he said. “I’m not moving right out there — haven’t been right all season. It finally got to a point where, in New Orleans [on Tuesday], I felt like I couldn’t move out there.”

Stevenson has a reputation of playing through injury and, before asking to be removed from the starting lineup last week, had started 275 consecutive games. He played part of one season on a torn meniscus. The last game Stevenson missed came April 13, 2005, when his daughter, Skye, was born.

— Mike Jones

QUOTABLE

“Tufts is a hotbed for NBA coaches. I don’t know; I wonder if my old man wasted his money. I went there to become a lawyer. Well, I did become a lawyer … just a nonpracticing one.”

— Wizards interim coach Ed Tapscott, joking after he was asked if he ever imagined he would return to Boston, where he attended Tufts University, as an NBA coach

BY THE NUMBERS

5 Wizards players who have started at some point the past two seasons — Gilbert Arenas, Brendan Haywood, Antonio Daniels, Caron Butler and DeShawn Stevenson — and have missed time because of injury this year.

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