Wizards' Haywood needs surgery; Jamison's knee likely to be ready for season

Updated: October 9, 2008, 3:01 AM ET
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Wizards center Brendan Haywood will have surgery for a torn ligament in his right wrist, but it was not clear Wednesday how much of the regular season he will miss.

Some teammates, including guard Antonio Daniels, who suffers from the same injury in his non-shooting hand, said specialists told him that the recovery could be months.

"It's a huge blow. A huge blow," Daniels said of Haywood's loss. "He's coming off a career year, and he anchored our defense really well last year. Very vocal. So, you miss that."

Haywood, hurt during training camp, visited two hand specialists in New York on Wednesday. His operation has not been scheduled, and the team said it wouldn't have a timetable for his return until after the surgery.

Coach Eddie Jordan said the team will know a more definite recovery time after surgery.

"We anticipate it to be pretty soon," Jordan said after the Wizards' win at Memphis on Wednesday night. "Within a week. Who knows?"

Washington did get some good medical news Wednesday about another starter, though: All-Star forward Antawn Jamison has a bruised right knee and is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. An MRI exam showed no other damage.

He was hurt during the first quarter of Washington's preseason opener at the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night.

Haywood averaged career highs of 10.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots last season.

"Brendan worked extremely hard over the summer after having a career year last season," Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld said. "This is disappointing, but we're confident that he will do everything necessary to recover from this injury and continue that progress."

Daniels said he was able to endure his wrist injury because it wasn't his dominant hand. If it had been, he may have opted for surgery. Instead, he rested it over the summer and continues to play "lightly-braced, but heavily restricted."

"They say it is the most unpredictable hand surgery you can have," Daniels said. "They cast you up for four to six months, and you do all the rehab, do all the physical therapy, but there's no guarantee you can come back healthy. You may be worse than what you were. You may be the same."

Jordan said other players will have to step in to fill the void left by Haywood's injury. There was a bit of promise in the win against the Grizzlies as rookie JaVale McGee scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds in 27 minutes.

"It's going to be hard to replace [Haywood's production]," Wizards guard DeShawn Stevenson said. "You do have Etan [Thomas] playing well, and the rookie [McGee] played well, so he'll have to step up."

Thomas missed all of last season after having open-heart surgery.

Jordan said adapting to injuries is something the Wizards have dealt with in recent seasons.

"We're used to this sort of adversity," he said. "We've had injuries over the last four or five years, and we've responded. We've had guys step up.

"Our front office has done a great job of balancing our roster with solid veterans mixed with some young guys with talent. We've been able to take the hit and still make the playoffs the last four years."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press