You never know exactly what you’ll find after you return from a break. In the sports news business, games have to be played and the season always rolls on, so there is always a little something different when you return.
With the Wizards, a lot has stayed the same since I’ve been gone. Here are the highlights from watching 30 minutes of scrimmaging at the end of practice today: (1) JaVale McGee received plenty of instruction from Wizards head coach Flip Saunders on setting screens after improper execution on consecutive plays; (2) Nick Young was also on the receiving end of a number of teaching points, yet still grinned his normal grin through couple of three-pointers and reverse-dunked fast break alley oop from John Wall; (3) Wall hit the deck five different times, mostly on drives to the bucket; (4) Kirk Hinrich played harder than anyone else on the floor; (5) when Saunders took time to instruct Wall and Young how to properly space themselves on the court, the proper pass ended with Andray Blatche free at the rim – and he missed his wide-open dunk; (6) and Blatche later rolled his left ankle on the break later after forcing a steal at the defensive end but said it was fine afterward.
The injury bug has also persisted, but Josh Howard (knee) was the only player to miss practice today. Yi Jianlian (knee) and Hinrich (left thigh contusion) both returned to practice.
Hinrich said his thigh was a lot better but he also revealed a new injury, of sorts. A recent doctor’s exam had him in protective eyewear – not quite Amar’e Stoudemire, more like a triathlete’s running glasses, especially with strap around the back of his head.
“Today was the first day with them,” said Hinrich. “Definitely not used to them yet, just trying to get adjusted to wearing them.”
Hinrich said they were not corrective glasses but for protective reasons, but he said they had nothing to do with the black eye he suffered against Chicago on Dec. 23.
Saunders said Yi was rusty, but Yi hopes to shake that off by Wednesday’s game at Philadelphia.
Rashard Lewis is also hoping to use a couple consecutive days of practice to help him get more comfortable.
“Today was a good practice,” said Lewis. “I think tomorrow should be a good practice as well, just to kind of get a flow of playing with these guys out on the court. I haven’t had very much practice time and not only that just learning the offense, where I’m supposed to be on the floor and which position I’m supposed to be in. These two days should be good for us.”
Hinrich wasn’t quite as positive, having watched from the sideline since suffering his leg injury on Dec. 29.
“I say we’ve kind of taken a step back a little bit the last couple games just as far as our energy, and energy is a huge part of defense,” he said. “We’re a young team. We’ve got to go out there and impose our will on the other team. We had been stringing a bunch of games together where we had the right type of effort, and hopefully we can get back to that Wednesday.”