WASHINGTON - Washington Wizards rookie Jared Jeffries waited and waited Christmas Day for the results of a magnetic resonance imaging test on his right knee, and when the news arrived, it was as bad as it could be.
Jeffries, a 6-foot-11 forward from Indiana, suffered a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament, and will miss the rest of the season, the team announced yesterday.
"You never want to get injured and it was one of those freak accidents that happen," said Jeffries. "God's got a plan for everybody and I have to get through it and work hard and get ready for next year."
Washington coach Doug Collins said the team's medical staff will likely wait about 10 days to two weeks for the inflammation and swelling in Jeffries' knee to subside before operating.
"It's sad," Collins said. "Jared was working very, very hard. He was getting better every day and I expected him over the last 40 games to get into our rotation and be playing for us. We're going to miss that."
Jeffries, taken by the Wizards with the 11th pick in the first round of the June draft, sustained the injury at practice Sunday in Dallas. He was averaging 4.0 points and 2.9 rebounds in just less than 15 minutes a game.
However, Jeffries had seen his minutes curtailed sharply in recent weeks, and had not played in five of Washington's last 10 games before his injury. Collins said he hoped Jeffries could return in time to take part in summer league games.
Collins said the Wizards would look to fill Jeffries' roster spot, possibly with former Washington guard/forward Bobby Simmons, the team's 2001 second-round draft choice, who was part of the deal that sent Richard Hamilton to Detroit for Jerry Stackhouse.
Simmons is playing for the Mobile Revelers of the National Basketball Developmental League, where he is second in the league in scoring.
In a related development, former Maryland star Juan Dixon said he hopes to return to the roster in a week to 10 days. Dixon has been on the injured list since Dec. 2 with a sprained left elbow. Dixon said he had the brace on his elbow removed Christmas Day and has started shooting.