- The Washington Times - Friday, April 21, 2017

Washington Wizards backup center Ian Mahinmi will remain out for “a few more games” according to Wizards coach Scott Brooks.

Mahinmi strained his left calf during the Wizards’ second-to-last regular-season game against the Detroit Pistons on April 10. Last week, Brooks said Mahinmi would be re-evaluated in 7-10 days. That evaluation was made Thursday and he will be out for the foreseeable future.

“He’s going to be — we did re-evalutate him — he’s definitely improved, feeling better each day, but he definitely won’t play the next few games,” Brooks said.

When asked if that meant Mahinmi would be out of the first-round series with the Atlanta Hawks no matter its length, Brooks hesitated and repeated his assessment that the 30-year-old Mahinmi would miss the next few games. Mahinmi had already been ruled out of Game 3, which is Saturday night in Atlanta. Washington leads the best-of-seven series, 2-0.

Considering the way Marcin Gortat has been playing, and the Hawks’ belief they are better off playing small ball, Mahinmi’s absence in the series has not been significant. Gortat has outplayed Atlanta center Dwight Howard in the first two games of the series. So much so, that Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer cut Howard’s playing time to less than 20 minutes in Game 2. Gortat has averaged 33 minutes per game in the series.

Mahinmi played just 31 games during the regular season because of recurring knee problems that began with knee surgery in training camp. The Wizards signed Mahinmi to a $64 million contract in the offseason, making him the team’s largest expenditure outside of Bradley Beal.

“When he’s ready, he’s ready,” Brooks said of Mahinmi. “Just whenever he’s ready. We know he is improving. He’s progressing well. But, he’s not ready to play. So we don’t know if he’s going to be available later down the series or not at all. But, he’s definitely out the next two games.”

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